Cindy Borges Warshaw was born in New Jersey to Brazilian parents. She grew up in the suburbs with close ties to the Brazilian, Hispanic, and Portuguese immigrant communities. She received a BA in International Studies from the American University and a Masters in Tourism Administration from the George Washington University. Prior to completing her MFA, she worked and traveled internationally for infrastructure, energy, and hotel development consulting firms as well as the U.S. Department of Commerce. She dedicated her time to advancing her knowledge of fine arts by studying painting and drawing at various community arts organizations in the Washington, DC area. She also taught and administered the artist appreciation program at a local elementary school in McLean, Virginia.