Born in 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stephanie Allain Bray moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1965. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Allain tried to make it as a dancer and writer in the San Francisco Bay area, but moved back to Los Angeles in 1985 to start a family. She began to work as a freelance script reader for Creative Artists Agency as well as other agencies and production companies. In 1989, Allain was hired by Amy Pascal to work at Columbia Pictures, quickly advancing to the role of creative executive. As she role through the ranks up to Senior Vice President of Production at Columbia, she became known for mentoring young minority filmmakers including John Singleton and Robert Rodriguez. Allain stayed at Columbia until 1996, when she left to run Jim Henson Films, a role she held until 1999. In 2002, she launched her own production company, producing "Biker Boyz" (2003) (with John Singleton), and "Hustle and Flow" (2005), and continued to help minority filmmakers share their vision.