Teri was born Valerie Christine Arscott in Rochford, Essex in late 1944. She went to Hullbridge Primary School and then Dowsett High School.
Teri liked to play dress up and was a bit of a tomboy in her younger days. In her late teens, she got the job as manager of a local dress salon − and then saw an ad in the local newspaper, The Southend Standard, that was to change her life for ever. It was for a modelling job and, before long, she was inundated with bookings for amateur model gigs. She quit her full-time job and began her professional modelling career in 1964 at the age of 19.