Lynch was born in Golden Valley, Minnesota, the daughter of Barbara, a modern dancer, and Robert Lynch, a restaurateur. She attended the Guthrie Theater. She worked as a flight attendant after leaving college. She was working as a model for the Elite modeling agency before acting. She was a good friend of Cynthia Allen Ahl, sister of The Suburbs guitarist Bruce C Allen. In the 1980s, she studied with acting instructor Sanford Meisner.