Melissa de la Cruz spent her early years in Manila in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States with her family when she was 12. Her father was an investment banker. The family settled in San Francisco, where she graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School. She went on to study art history and English at Columbia University. Her work as a nanny and her visits to The Hamptons formed the background for book series, The Au Pairs. Her work as a fashion writer for Marie Claire was the inspiration for How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less which she co-authored with Karen Robinovitz.