Famous for her role as Vanessa Woodfield on the popular British soap opera Emmerdale, Hardwick is also well known for her portrayal of Lizzie Hopkirk on the ITV medical drama The Royal.
Before beginning her acting career, she trained at Scala Performing Arts and Park Lane College, both in Leeds, England. One of her early credits was a guest appearance in a 1998 episode of Coronation Street.
By early 2015, she had nearly 35,000 Twitter followers.
In 2013, shortly after coming out to the media, she became engaged to her longtime partner, Rosie Nicholl. The couple married in 2015.
She and Robert Daws were both series regulars on The Royal.