A native of Washington, D.C., frequent television actor Teddy Sears grew up in nearby Chevy Chase, MD, and began entering local beauty pageants during adolescence, which seemed poised to bring the photogenic young man ever closer to his then-goal of breaking into male modeling. Sears attended and graduated from the University of Virginia, then spent time manning a catamaran off the coast of Hawaii and posing in local photo shoots in and around the islands, but enjoyed his first real brush with widespread fame and recognition upon returning home to Maryland one summer and holding tenure as a lifeguard. A friend handed Sears an application for a contest on the Fox network christened The Sexiest Bachelor in America. Intrigued, Sears entered. He failed to win the competition when it aired in October 2000, but did appear on the program and through the experience gained the connections that propelled him into life as an actor.
Sears maintained his most frequent presence on television, with guest spots on innumerable series programs including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Ugly Betty, and Mad Men; producers frequently cast him as pretty boy types, boyfriends, surfers, or athletes. In 2007, Sears signed for one of his first major feature roles, with a supporting contribution to the family-oriented drama Firehouse Dog.