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Lisa Lewis was born Elizabeth Finlayson on 19th March 1964 in Manchester, one of eight children born to jazz singer Blanche Finlayson.

With an ambition to become an actress from an early age, she joined drama school after leaving school, changing her name to that of her then-boyfriend, Paul Lewis. She auditioned three times for Coronation Street, being successful at the third attempt as Baldwin's Casuals factory worker Shirley Armitage. She first appeared in September 1983 in what was at first a relatively minor part but the role grew within the programme, culminating when her character moved in with Curly Watts into the Corner Shop flat and she became the Street's first resident from an ethnic background.

Lisa became pregnant with her fourth child, leaving the Street in April 1989 due to the pregnancy.

Afterwards she gave up acting and now works for local government improving the lives of "Looked after Children" and overseeing the implementation of the services offered to them. She still lives in Manchester with her family. Lisa is the sister of the Hacienda DJ, DJ Paulette. Lisa remains friends with Kevin Kennedy, and still sees him. Lisa's nephew is the actor Ciaran Clancy, who has also appeared on Coronation Street in a number of minor roles.