Dunn grew up in Utah, the youngest of six children. She began dancing at age three, drawing at age 4, singing and acting at age 8. When she was 15, she began competing International Standard and International Latin.
At age 19, Emily earned a position on the Young Ambassadors, an international performing group for Brigham Young University. She traveled across the United States and also to Brazil and Argentina performing a show called Broadway Rhythm. She also shot her feature film debut as Trisha in Napoleon Dynamite.
While at BYU, she also attended acting classes with Napoleon Dynamite co-star Jon Heder's elder twin brother, Dan.
Emily graduated in April 2005 from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration. She currently works for Disney as an Art Manager at a video game development studio.
Emily and Spencer Tyndall were divorced just after their 4th anniversary on July 25, 2008. She remarried on March 19, 2009 to Adam Dunn.