Smriti, was born in Delhi. She is of Punjabi, Maharastrian, Bengali and Assamese origin and the eldest of three sisters. She has been a “part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from childhood” as her grandfather was an RSS swayamsevak and her mother a member of Jana Sangh.
She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School and discontinued further education. Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications. In 2004, she submitted that she had obtained a graduate degree in Arts (B.A, 1996) from Delhi University (School of Correspondence); and in 2014, she submitted that she had completed a part of a graduate degree in Commerce (Part I B.Com, 1994) from Delhi University. Furthermore, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written her examination. In June 2015, a lower court upheld the allegation of misrepresentation of her education qualifications.
Irani joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003. She became vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing in 2004. In the 2004 general elections for the 14th Lok Sabha, she contested unsuccessfully against Kapil Sibal from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi. She was nominated as executive member of the central committee of the BJP. In December 2004, Irani threatened to “fast unto death” until then Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi resigned, blaming him for BJP’s electoral losses. However she later retracted this demand after BJP’s central leadership threatened to take action against her. In May 2009, Irani while campaigning for Vijay Goel‘s candidature in New Delhi, voiced her concerns about the safety of women in the capital. She advocated capital punishment for rapists as a deterrent.