Sara Nuru was born as the third daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, who left their home in 1986 and settled down in Erding, in southern Germany. The family lived in Erding until 1999 before they moved to Munich. Nuru is fluent in German, English and Arabic. She also speaks a little bit of Amharic.
It was during her highschool days, when a friend of her persuaded her to participate in the fourth cycle casting of Germany's Next Topmodel in Munich. Nuru was chosen as one of the finalists and won jobs for Sony Ericsson and Gilette during the competition. On May 21, 2009, Nuru was announced as the fourth cycle's winner and the first winner of color. Unlike the three previous winner of Germany's Next Topmodel, Nuru did not win a modeling contract with IMG Models, but with the Heidi Klum GmbH, whose manager is Heidi's father Günther.
Before Nuru won Germany's Next Topmodel, she already had the opportunity to gain experiences as a model for friendly designers, after she was approached by a photographer when she was 15 years old. She appeared in a fashion show held in Dresden which also featured cycle 3's winner Jennifer Hof.