Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, in Sydney, Australia. Her family later relocated to Mullumbimby, New South Wales, when she was still an infant, into a house on 12 acres that her father built by hand from mud bricks. Her father was a painter and comics artist, while her mother cleaned holiday houses and hotels. Azalea says her father "made her look at art as a teenager", which has always influenced her life and work. Azalea began rapping at age 14. Before embarking on a solo career, Azalea formed a group with two other girls from her neighbourhood.
In pursuit of her desire of moving to America, Azalea dropped out of high school; instead choosing to work and save the money she earned by cleaning hotel rooms and holiday houses with her mother. She claims to have hated school, which, besides her art class, only made her miserable. She also said she had no friends and was teased for her homemade outfits. Azalea traveled to the United States in 2006, right before she turned 16. She told her parents she was going "on a holiday" with a friend, but eventually decided to stay and shortly after told them she was not coming back home. After her arrival in America, she resided in the U.S. on a visa waiver for six years, leaving the country every three months to renew it. She is currently in the country on a five-year O visa, having previously earned money illegally.