Nana Ama was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 15 August 1973. Her mother, Cecilia Agyenim Boateng, and her father Kwabena Nkrumah, divorced when Nana Ama was young. With her father gone and her mother unable to take care of her and her six other siblings, Nana Ama together with her siblings were adopted by Kofi McBrown and her aunt, Madam Betty Obiri Yeboah. As a result, Nana Ama considers her childhood to have been difficult.
Along with her six siblings, Nana Ama grew up in Kwadaso, Kumasi with her aunt, and her adopted father. To this day, she considers her aunt her "real mother" and has spoken of her gratitude to her aunt for having provided her with a stable and caring home.
Nana Ama attended St. Peter's International Residential School, moved on to Minnesota International and then to Central International. She continued to Kwadaso L.A. J.S.S, completed and went to Prince of Peace Secondary School all in Kumasi. Later, she attended the College of Business intending to become a secretary.
McBrown essentially stumbled into acting. She answered an auction call on the radio by Miracle Films and was hired to do costuming instead. However, on the set, she was able to snag the lead role after the director, Samuel Nyamekye, felt that she was better suited for the role. In 2001, her first movie, That Day, was released launching her career.
Her performance in That Day opened the floodgates to choicer roles, landing her a spot on the TV series Tentacles.
In 2007, the movie Asoreba, co-starring Agya Koo and Mercy Aseidu, turned Nana Ama into a household name. Since then, she has slowly built a strong following by releasing a slew of critically acclaimed movies.
Nana Ama has been linked to Omar Sheriff Captan, her co-star in a number of movies, although both have continually denied any romantic attachments.
In 2004, Nana Ama McBrown dated briefly, Okyeame Kwame, a Ghanaian musician. In the course of the year, the pair was seen traveling together all over Ghana promoting Okyeame Kwame's solo release.
On 15 July 2007, Nana Ama was enthroned as the Nkosuohemaa (or ceremonial queen-mother of development) of Assin-Basiako near Assin-Fosu in the Assin North District of the Central Region, Ghana.
In 2016, she married her longtime boyfriend Maxwell Mawu Mensah. Their wedding photos were released that November.