Hemme attended Mount San Jacinto College,where she majored in dance. After graduating, she relocated to Los Angeles, California in order to pursue a career in modeling. Hemme initially joined a burlesque dance team known as "The Purrfect Angelz", who performed at Easyrider tours and Harley motorcycle rallies. She went on appear in magazines such as Maxim, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Stuff. In addition, she appeared in the music video of the Trace Adkins song "Chrome", and in videos for bands Blink-182 and Sonic. In past years, her image has also been found on Bench Warmer trading cards as Christy "Sunny" Hemme. Her modelling career led to her joining the cast of Comedy Central's The Man Show as a member of the "Juggy Dance Squad" in 2003. Hemme remained with the series for a year, during which she hosted "The Commies", a comedy-themed award ceremony produced by Comedy Central, on December 7, 2003.
Hemme took part in the 2004 Lingerie Bowl, and competed as a quarterback for the Chicago Bliss Lingerie Football League team in a 2006 Lingerie Bowl playoff game on January 28, 2006.
In the summer of 2004, Hemme participated in the Diva Search, a competition held by World Wrestling Entertainment in order to recruit new Divas. In the course of the competition, Hemme and the five other finalists faced seven existing WWE Divas in a game of dodgeball at SummerSlam 2004 on August 15, 2004, eliminating all eight Divas with the loss of just one finalist, Joy Giovanni. Hemme was announced as the winner of the competition on September 20, with her prize being a one year contract with WWE with remuneration of US$250,000.
Hemme began her WWE career as a member of the RAW roster, using the song "Walk Idiot Walk" by The Hives as her entrance music. She quickly began a feud with Carmella DeCesare, the runner-up of the Diva Search. The feud culminated in a "lingerie pillow fight" at Taboo Tuesday 2004 on October 19, 2004, with Hemme defeating her opponent by knock-out. Hemme was undefeated in the Lingerie Pillow Fight during her WWE tenure.
Following her feud with DeCesare, Hemme began a rivalry with WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus, with Stratus ostensibly scornful of Hemme's appearance in the April 2005 issue of Playboy. Hemme eventually challenged Stratus to a match at WrestleMania 21, with Stratus's nemesis Lita training her in the weeks preceding the event. At WrestleMania 21 on April 3, 2005, Stratus defeated Hemme to retain her title. In the months after WrestleMania, Hemme began another feud with Victoria, who claimed to be jealous of the opportunities afforded to Hemme. The feud culminated in a bout at Vengeance 2005 on June 26, which Victoria won by cheating.
With her feud with Victoria over, Hemme briefly aligned herself with Eugene before she and Stacy Keibler were traded to SmackDown! in exchange for Candice Michelle and Torrie Wilson on August 25, 2005, with their first match being a WWE.com exclusive lingerie pillow fight with one another.
Hemme went on to feud with Melina, the leader of the MNM faction, in the process joining forces with the Legion of Doom. At No Mercy 2005 on October 9, 2005, Hemme and the Legion of Doom defeated MNM in a six-person intergender tag team match, with Hemme executing the signature finishing maneuver of the Legion of Doom, the "Doomsday Device", on Melina. Her feud with Melina continued into November, with Melina defeating Hemme in two televised singles bouts.