Gemma Atkinson rose to fame playing Lisa Hunter on the Channel 4 teenage soap opera Hollyoaks.
Atkinson and Marcus Patric (who played the character Ben Davies) subsequently appeared in a "spin-off" series called Hollyoaks: Let Loose for E4, in which their characters started a new life together in Chester. This was followed by Hollyoaks: In the City, also screened on E4.
Other TV roles included appearing as herself in the pilot for Plus One, part of the pilot series Comedy Showcase in October 2009. In early April 2009 she finished filming for an episode of The Bill. She plays Ria Crossley the girlfriend of a drug dealer.
In film, Atkinson has appeared in the British independent film Boogie Woogie, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2009.
In early 2006, Atkinson underwent breast enlargement surgery, which took her bra size to a 34E. She said in an interview that she lost weight due to a fitness regime and her bust size declined and that the surgery then gave them the original shape they once had.
Since launching her parallel career as a glamour model, Atkinson has appeared in provocative photoshoots in lingerie and swimwear, for men's magazines such as Arena, FHM, Loaded, Maxim, Zoo and Nuts. In October 2006, she appeared in three of the aforementioned magazines in one month, becoming one of the most prolific celebrity glamour models in the UK. She has also released calendars yearly since 2006, with the 2008 and 2009 being shot in Thailand.
Since 2006, she has appeared in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women list, debuting at number 32 in 2006; following her appearance on the cover of FHM, she moved up to 23 in 2007; rising again to 18 in 2008 and falling to 81 in 2009.