McCord was home-schooled and graduated from high school at the age of 15, after which she joined the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and appeared in ads for various brands, including Estee Lauder, and also briefly modeled for Seventeen.
McCord appears in the 2005 Italian film Natale a Miami and 2007 comedey film remake Day of the happy lol. In addition to appearances on Close to Home and The O.C., she played rebellious Loren Wakefield on the MyNetworkTV limited-run serial American Heiress. She was also cast as the star in another MyNetworkTV telenovela, Rules of Deception, but the show never aired, due to a change in the network's programming strategy away from telenovelas. In addition, she has guest-starred in episodes 119 and 120 of Ugly Betty, an episode on the first season of Greek, and an episode of the fourth season of Cold Case.
She participated in Mexican artist Thalía's videoclip "Baby, I'm in Love". McCord portrayed Eden Lord in the fifth season of the FX series Nip/Tuck. She reprises her role as a guest star in several season 6 episodes. McCord said in an interview with fearnet.com that it was "fun to play a bad girl." In 2008, she joined the debuting series 90210 as Naomi Clark, a part which media outlets have since referred to as the central role. In 2009, McCord was the recipient of the Hollywood Life Young Hollywood Superstar of Tomorrow award.
She was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award for her portrayal of Naomi. McCord was being considered for the role of Heidi in New Moon, the sequel to the 2008 film Twilight, according to E! Online. However, she did not get the role. According to McCord herself she turned the part down because she was "in need of some R&R." The role went to Noot Seear. She accepted a role in the Off Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27 through May 29, 2011 run with Conchata Ferrell, Minka Kelly, Anne Meara, and B. Smith.
During her free time, McCord has contributed to various charities, stating that she is a "strong believer in working with organizations and giving back." She is a big supporter of the St. Bernard Project, a rebuilding organization dedicated to assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina. She is the Goodwill Ambassador for the The Somaly Mam Foundation. McCord is the cover model for the July 2009 issue of Signature magazine, a Los Angeles regional magazine. The cover story highlights her dedication to The Blind Project, "a charity organization that builds factories in third world countries to educate and employ victims of human trafficking." According to the article, she moved her sisters from Atlanta to Los Angeles so they would be able to help her with this cause. The sisters created a clothing line, The Sisters 3, to donate to the charity.
In 2009, McCord joined the faculty and students at Woodland Regional High School, located in Beacon Falls, CT, for the inaugural race for Woodland for Women Worldwide, a grass roots organization which supports Somaly Mam and CAMFED, two international organizations which fights the exploitation of girls and women worldwide and provides them with opportunities and education. Screenwriter and playwright, Susan Cinoman also serves Woodland for Women Worldwide who was founded by Deb Flaherty, Lisa Olivere, Joelle Kilcourse, Meghan Hatch and Danielle Shove in addition to the students at WRHS. McCord was awarded Woodland for Women Worldwide's highest humanitarium award as she became their spokesperson.
McCord began dating the actor Dominic Purcell in 2011.
- Father is a pastor.
- She has been modeling since she was 15.
- She works closely with a charity called Somaly Mam Foundation, an organization that raises awareness and money for victims of sex trafficking.