Tortorella is a native of Wilmette, Illinois, and a graduate of New Trier High School. Tortorella is of Italian descent. In May 2009, The CW ordered a 13-episode first season of the drama series . The series centered on a group of models sharing a residence in New York City and Tortorella portrayed the role of an upcoming underwear model Cole Shepard. The series premiered on September 16, 2009 to mixed reviews from critics. The CW cancelled the series after its second episode due to low ratings. In June 2009, Tortorella was announced to star in the ABC Family teen drama television seriesMake It or Break It, where they took the role of Razor, an aspiring singer. Tortorella temporarily left the series to pursue work on The Beautiful Life and after the series' cancellation returned in a recurring role. In August 2010, Tortorella made a special guest appearance in the episode "If Only..." which was marked as their final appearance on the series. That year, Tortorella also had a small role in the Joel Schumacher film Twelve. In June 2010, Tortorella was announced to star in the horror film Scream 4 the fourth installment of the Scream film series. Tortorella portrayed Trevor Sheldon, a Woodsboro teenager whose life is in danger when peers from their school begin to be killed off one by one. Tortorella next appeared on the Fox serial killer drama The Following. The show was created by Kevin Williamson, who also wrote Scream 4. In 2014, Tortorella was cast as Josh, Sutton Foster's character Liza's younger lover in the TV Land comedy-drama Younger created by Darren Star. Their first leading film role was in the 2015 independent film Hunter&Game in which they played hard-partying electronic musician Carson Lowe, which they described as a "role I was meant to play". The film premiered at the LA Indie Film Fest in October 2014, where it won Best Feature and Best Director of a Feature Awards. The film had its East Coast premiere at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival in May 2015, where it won the Best Feature award. In September 2016, Tortorella launched the podcast The Love Bomb on the At Will Radio podcast network. On May 1, 2018, Tortorella and Matteo Lane were featured on a Nancy podcast. In April 2020 Tortorella competed in RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race, spin-off of the hit television reality show RuPaul's Drag Race, where they lost. Tortorella is also the author of several books - all of it is you., a poetry collection published in April 2018, and Space Between, a memoir published in September 2019.
Speaking to the New York Posts Page Six in June 2016, Tortorella declared themself sexually fluid, and identified as bisexual in an October 2016 interview with Vulture. In November 2017 Tortorella and Bethany C. Meyers talked about being in a polyamorous relationship, a revelation that got them uninvited from their respective families' Thanksgiving dinner. Tortorella civilly married Meyers on March 9, 2018, at a Manhattan City clerk's office before exchanging vows at St. Paul's Chapel. Tortorella announced that they identify as genderfluid during a video collaboration with drag queenTrinity The Tuck.