She completed her school level education from the Sharanbasaveshwara residential school, Gulbarga and obtained her B.Com degree from the renowned Mahaveer Jain College, Bengaluru.
She obtained her masters in English Literature from the Bangalore University. She then enrolled for a Diploma course in Film Making and Acting at the famous Adarsha film institute. She has obtained degrees from various fileds such as commerce, literature and film acting. She is arguably one of the most highly educated and talented actress of Kannada film industry.
She first rose to prominence after she won the Miss Beautiful Smile and Miss Garden City Bangalore title in the year 2003. These titles helped her make way in the entertainment industry. She began her professional career by serving as an anchor and host of various well-known Kannada shows such as Star Dish Dishum, Kuniyona Baara, and Preethiya Kannadiga amongst others. She garnered a lot of acclaim through these shows.
Gaonkar started her acting career as a television actress. She made her cinematic debut with the Kannada film Nam Areali Ondina in the year 2010. She portrayed the role of Chinnu. Her performance was well acclaimed though the movie failed to make any sort of impact. Thereafter, she was cast opposite Vijay Raghavendra in the multi-starrer hit film titled Vinayaka Geleyara Balaga in the year 2011. After which came the biggest hit of her career, the film titled Charminar in 2012. Her strong performance won her first ever Best Actress nomination. She was last seen in Simple Aag Innondu Love Story in 2016.