Her father is Tariq Anwar and her mother is Shireen Anwar. Anwar attended Laleham Church of England Primary and Middle School from 1975 to 1982. Trinian's sketch in the school concert of 1982 gave an early indication of her theatrical leanings. She studied at the London drama and dance school, "Italia Conti". She appeared in many British television productions before making her film debut in Manifesto (1988).