Manuela Accarpio was born in Genova, Italy. She studied foreign languages and literatures, and anthropology at the University of Genova. Her studies were fueled by an interest in other cultures and their collective experiences captured by their storytellers. This progressed into a love of documentary photography. Manuela worked for an Art Festival in Rome and for an NGO in Kenya. She cofounded an independent theatre in Alexandra township while she was living in South Africa.