Tom Vera was born Keith Thomas Rivera on February 28, 1986 in Fresno, California. His mother, Laura Heagerty (Soares), is a nurse from Fresno, CA and his father, Mark Rivera, a retired UPS driver from Salinas, CA. He has one older sister, Regina Chessari (Rivera). His ancestry includes Mexican, Native American, English, German, Portuguese, and Danish. Tom was raised in Fresno until shortly after his parents divorced, and he moved to Redlands, CA with his mother and older sister at the age of nine. He played Little League baseball, club soccer, and became interested in the arts. Tom graduated from Redlands East Valley High School in 2004 and was a multi-sport athlete, playing football, soccer, and running track.

After high school, Tom attended California State University, San Bernardino where he graduated with honors with dual degrees in Geology and Geology Environmental Science. Tom always loved the outdoors and was drawn to the physicality of his geology studies. After graduation, Tom enrolled at Oklahoma State University, earning his Master's Degree in Petroleum Geology. After graduation, he moved to Houston, TX and worked in the oil industry. It is also in Houston that he met his wife, Amy Rivera (Statler). He continued his interest in acting and modeling and began working on local and independent projects, including his notable lead role of Bruce Stryker in Narco Sub (2020).