She was primarily a basketball player in high school, then at Southern Miss she was mainly a long jumper, capturing two NCAA titles. After college, her coach recognized her speed and Bowie began sprinting more, in both the 100 and the 200.
She was born and raised in Mississippi and attended college at the University of Southern Mississippi. She prefers her slower paced hometown to the fast moving New York City, although she had enjoyed New York City.
When Bowie was age 2 her biological mother placed her and her sister Tamarra in foster care, saying she was unable to take care of the girls. The sisters lingered in foster care for a year before they were adopted by Smith.