Bérénice was born in Paris, France, daughter to a French mother and a Khmer-Chinese father. Her mother is a teacher and her father is a doctor. She originally held aspirations of becoming a pianist, as well as an artist, studying at the prestigious French arts school Conservatoire de Paris for ten years.
She had trouble getting on screen roles in France because people did not think she fit the mould of a French actress. Before Bond, her performances were primarily rooted in small roles on French TV.
She is known to be a strong believer in fate. During an interview, she claimed to have dreamt of acting alongside Javier Bardem six months before the Bond audition. After the dream, she knew that everything would be fine. It was not until the second audition for Skyfall that someone actually mentioned to her that Bardem might also be cast.