Yvonne was born in Accra-Ghana, to Miss Margaret Gaddy and Mr. O. Nelson in Accra. She hails from Cape Coast in the Central Region but spent most of her early years in Accra. She had her basic and junior high education at St. Martin De Porres in Dansoman, Accra. She got so much into music and yearned to be a pop star in junior high. She went to Aggrey Memorial Senior High School. Driven by the passion to be in the lime light, she won her first beauty pageant, Miss Aggrey, in Aggrey Memorial Senior High School, performing a song by Lauryn Hill. She then went to the Central University College, where she did a degree course Human Resource Management.
In Miss Ghana 2005 Beauty Pageant, she won the Best Talent award by performing an original rap song and Miss Photogenic along with two other awards. With the exposure accrued from the beauty pageant, she won a two-year contract as face of Maxim Cosmetics after and landed a role in the TV series, Fortune Island, where her acting career began. Her first lead was princess tyra, she shot about five more movies and then went to Nigeria to shoot her first collaboration with Genevieve Nnaji in 2007 that launched her career in Nollywood. Since then, she has shot close to a hundred movies in Nigeria, Ghana,Ivory Coast etc. She founded the YVONNE NELSON GLAUCOMA FOUNDATION in 2010 to help create awareness about the disease, she recorded an all star charity single and shot a video to help educate people. She produced her first movie THE PRICE in 2011,followed by SINGLE AND MARRIED which has won two awards (best picture -GMA and best Ghanaian movie in Nigeria -city people awards 2013.) She followed up with another interesting production HOUSE OF GOLD.
In 2009, she was named Joy Fm Nite with the Stars Best Actress. In 2010, she was adjudged Ghana’s Favourite Actress at the Ghana Movie Awards and the Face of Ghana’s Best Actress 2011/2012 in the United States of America. She was also nominated twice at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) and adjudged Africa’s Best Actress at the 2012 Africa entertainment Award in Malaysia. She picked Ghana’s Best Actress Award at the August 2011 City People Awards. Prior to that, her song about glaucoma picked up a prize at Ghana music Awards, GMA favourite actress award 2010, PAMSAA Best International Actress 2012,Hottest Ghanaian actress in nollywood (city people awards 2013),Best picture for Single and married (GMA 2012),Best Ghanaian movie for single and married(city people awards 2013).
Yvonne appeared in a music clip “Adea peh na” of her favourite Ghanaian Musician, Kojo Antwi.
She produced the current record breaking African movie, ‘Single & Married’ and also has a number of businesses in Accra including a fashion shop called YN's closet. The shop has latest designer wears from around the world . Yvonne owns YN Productions with movie credits.
Yvonne launched YN Hairline which introduced lace wigs and human hair collections into Ghana’s market. At the time, the wigs were very new in Ghana.
As part of her efforts to give back to society, she launched the Yvonne Nelson Glaucoma Foundation in 2010 to educate the public on the harmful effects of the eye ailment.