Hawkins attended the Bishop Luffa School in Chichester, and the University of Manchester, graduating with a BA in English Literature. She later undertook a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from the London College of Printing.
Hawkins began her broadcasting career with ITN in 1999 as a newsreader and reporter for LBC Radio. She was one of the first journalists at the fatal Paddington rail crash and provided live reports from the scene. In January 2000, she moved to ITV Meridian in the southeast where she co-presented the hour-long current affairs series The Big Story.
From October 2003, Hawkins worked for ITV Meridian as co-anchor of their main news programme Meridian Tonight in the South East of England. She also presented on the ITV News Channel. At Meridian, she presented several pan-regional documentaries, including the half-hour special Britain on the Move. In 2007, Hawkins co-presented The London Boat Show for ITV.
Hawkins left Meridian in December 2006 to join Sky News in January 2007, where she presented Sunrise each Monday to Thursday with Eamonn Holmes. In March 2014, she left the channel.
Hawkins presented several stints on Five News, in the absence of stand-in Matt Barbet who was providing maternity leave cover for main presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, for a period in 2010. In 2010, she was an occasional guest news reviewer on the ITV programme This Morning. Hawkins also presented the Sky Arts documentary Andre Rieu: Behind the Music.
On 3 March 2014, Hawkins was confirmed as a presenter on ITV Breakfast programme Good Morning Britain. She made her last appearance on Sky News Sunrise on 6 March 2014 and made her debut on Good Morning Britain on 28 April 2014, where she co-hosts the show with Ben Shephard, Sean Fletcher and Susanna Reid from 6:00 am to 8.30 am, every day except Thursdays. On 22 January 2015, Hawkins presented her final show before going on maternity leave. She returned on the show on 15 June 2015.
On 21 August 2017, it was announced that Hawkins would take part in the fifteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One. She is paired with professional dancer Brendan Cole.
Hawkins married her partner of five years, Mark Herbert, on 23rd August 2008. The ceremony took place at Chichester Cathedral where Hawkins' father was a clergyman. On 12 August 2014, Hawkins announced live on Good Morning Britain that the couple were expecting their first child. On 8 February 2015, she gave birth to a baby girl, Ella Rose.
Hawkins spends a lot of her time outdoors and enjoys horse riding, cycling, and sailing, and lives in Surrey.
Hawkins supports several charities including the Motor Neurone Disease Association of which she is a patron. Her father Frank was diagnosed with the disease in 2011 and later died in 2015. She is a patron of Ellenor Hospice and an ambassador for Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens.
Hawkins is passionate about animals and supports the Dogs Trust charity. She owns a rescue dog named Bailey, who was adopted from Dogs Trust.Television