Pozzi was born in Genoa, Liguria. Her parents chose her name from a geographic map of Hawaii: it means "where the sea is deepest". Her father Alfredo Pozzi was a nuclear engineer and he moved around the world with his family for work, and her mother Rosanna was a housewife. As a teen, Pozzi lived with her family in Canada, then in Brazil. At 13 years old, in 1974, Pozzi moved back to Italy with her family, where she finished secondary school. When the family had to move again to Lyon, France, she decided to start living independently in Rome around 1980, when she was 19 years old.
In Rome, Pozzi started working as a model and studied acting. Sometimes she performed in TV adverts or as a walk-on in comedy movies. In (1981) she performed her first hardcore movie, Valentina, ragazza in calore (Valentina, Girl in Heat), credited as Linda Heveret. A minor scandal ensued since, at the same time the movie was in theatres, she was still working on a children's TV show, Tip Tap Club, on Rete 2. She denied being the same person, but she was suspended from TV anyway. This gave her her first popularity in newspapers and magazines. In 1985 Federico Fellini wanted her to perform in his movie Ginger and Fred.
Pozzi was Catholic.
In 1986, Pozzi met Riccardo Schicchi, manager of Diva Futura, the agency of the most famous porn stars like Cicciolina. Her first A-movie in hard core was Fantastica Moana, where she used her real name for the first time. She also took part in the famous Curve Deliziose (Delicious Curves) next to Cicciolina others, the first live show in Italy where naked models would masturbate onstage. This caused scandal and accusations of outrageous obscenity. She became huge in the hardcore business and soon eclipsed the popularity of Cicciolina in Italy. (At the same time Cicciolina stopped doing porn to pursue a political career in Italian Parliament.) Pozzi's appearances on TV also caused scandal. In the show Matrjoska by Antonio Ricci, she used to appear on stage completely naked or just wrapped in a transparent plastic veil. Magazines and newspapers were more and more interested in her and she was often featured on covers. She was also appreciated for her distinctive intelligence, defying the cliché of the brainless pinup. She cultivated intellectuals, writers, and artists such as Mario Schifano or Dario Bellezza.
Pozzi was conscious of her role in show business. In interviews she always spoke of what she wanted to be for public opinion: sexy, sophisticated, intelligent, open-minded, worldly.
In 1991, Pozzi published her first book Moana's Philosophy where she listed, with marks from 4 to 9.5, twenty famous celebrities who had been her lovers. The list included actors like Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Roberto Benigni and Massimo Troisi, soccer players like Paulo Roberto Falcão and Marco Tardelli, writers like Luciano De Crescenzo. The name of the most famous one, the actual prime minister Bettino Craxi, who was her lover in 1981, was hidden as "the politician".
In 1992, Pozzi co-founded, with Hungarian Ilona Staller "Cicciolina", the Love Party of Italy, whose political program included legalization of brothels, better sex education and the creation of "love parks". She ran for the mayor of Rome and received about 1 percent of the total vote. No one was elected, but her popularity reached its pinnacle and the best Italian TV anchors wanted to interview her. Stylist Karl Lagerfeld wanted her on the catwalk in 1993. Pozzi became so popular that she was a protagonist for an animated cartoon created by the famous Italian cartoonist Mario Verger, with herself co-directing. This film, entitled Moanaland (1994), aired frequently on Italian television in Blob, and in telecasts dedicated to the actress. Again Verger, by himself, dedicated to Pozzi another cartoon, I Remember Moana, 1995, that gained praise by film critics Marco Giusti and Enrico Ghezzi, and was transmitted in Fuori Orario. It also won a Special Mention at the Erotic Film Festival in the USA.
Her sister Maria Tamiko "Mima" Pozzi became a porn actress, as well, with the stage name of Baby Pozzi.
Pozzi performed in about 100 porn movies, mostly in Italy, but also some in Los Angeles with Gerard Damiano as director. She sold about 1 million videotapes. She was on the covers of 50 major magazines, not including pictorials in porn magazines. She was reportedly worth more than 50 billion 1990 Italian liras, about 26 million Euros.
In mid-1994, Pozzi was ill, unable to eat without vomiting, and losing weight. She took time off and travelled to India with her husband Antonio Di Ciesco and then entered a clinic in Lyon, France. She died on 15 September 1994, at the age of 33. One report stated that she died of liver cancer.
On the 10th anniversary of her death (2004), new rumours resurfaced and the court of justice of Rome opened a new file to investigate. In December 2005, the Italian TV show Chi l'ha visto? presented for the first time the official death certificate of a Lyon cemetery, recording the exact day of the actress's death. Interviews with the family finally confirmed the circumstances. Her husband Antonio di Ciesco was also interviewed for the first time in 1995. Also shown was the unmarked grave in the "Pozzi" burial plot in Lerma, near Alessandria in Piedmont, northern Italy.
Her brother Simone revealed in February 2006, on the same TV programme, that he was actually her son. Pozzi's mother confirmed this. He wrote a book telling his story, which was published in 2006. The book discusses Pozzi's personality, her differing relations with the other members of her family (especially with her sister Mima), and the course of her illness and death.
On 2 April 2007, Pozzi's husband Antonio Di Ciesco told the newspaper Il Messaggero that during her final days, Pozzi had asked him to speed her death. He claims that he euthanised her by letting air enter her IV, causing an air embolism.
Some of Pozzi's money was donated posthumously to funding medical research on tumors.
Pozzi inspired the main character of the 1999 film Guardami (Look At Me).
In 2009 a miniseries based on her life was directed by Alfredo Peyretti and starred Violante Placido in the title role.
In 2010, her former manager Riccardo Schicchi produced and directed I Segreti di Moana (The Secrets of Moana), in which the title role was played by Vittoria Risi.
In 2016, it was reported that the Disney film Moana would change its title and the protagonist's name in Italy due to the Italian public's familiarity with Pozzi.