Early Human Life
Jesse was born to Miriam Reeves, a seventeen-year-old girl who was raped by an older unidentified male. Miriam, seven months pregnant with Jesse, was driving a car when she got into an accident. Miriam was killed in the crash, but Jesse miraculously was aborted from her mother's womb and survived unharmed. She was taken to a hospital and remained unnamed and neglected for two weeks until Maharet, a vampire and a distant ancestor, claimed her as a relative of the old Reeves family. Maharet took Jesse to live with a rich couple, Matthew and Maria Godwin, in New York.
Jesse exhibited supernatural powers from a young age. For example, she frequently saw ghosts of people and places long since destroyed. Jesse was afraid of these apparitions and disturbed that no one but her could see them. At sixteen, she saw the ghost of her mother, Miriam, in her bedroom, who told Jesse not to be afraid of ghosts, since they could do her no harm. Jesse confided her worries and fears to Maharet, whom she thought of as an aunt, through letters. Maharet explained to her that seers of spirits were common with women in the Great Family, and that it was a gift that seemed to come with the attributes of green eyes, pale skin and red hair. She urged Jesse to write to her whenever she would be frightened by it.
Maharet wrote frequently and always bought her plane tickets to see other members of the Great Family in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Maharet also gave Jesse an apartment in New York and provided money for her tuition at Columbia University.
Jesse was living in London when Aaron Lightner, one of the leaders of the Talamasca, came to her house. Over dinner, he asked her to join the Talamasca, a secret organization investigating supernatural occurances around the world.
Maharet wasn't thrilled to hear that Jesse had joined the Talamasca order, but after Jesse said she would not tell them about the Great Family or the strange things that happened in the Sonoma compound, Maharet decided that she couldn't refuse Jesse to join the order if it made her happy.
Queen of The Damned
At first, Jesse worked in the archives, translating Latin texts. Later, she worked in the field and was sent to haunted houses all over Europe and the United States. Then she met with David Talbot, the head of the order, who told her that vampires were real, and he sent her to New Orleans. There she was to investigate and document events from the book Interview with the Vampire that took place. During the time in New Orleans she broke the strict rules of the Talamasca in cases concerning vampires, which led to her encounter with the spirit of Claudia, the vampire child of Lestat and Louis. This concluded in Jesse being sick for weeks, and her being taken off the case.
She later visited Matthew and Maria in New York, where she discovered Lestat's book The Vampire Lestat, his album and decided to go to his concert in San Francisco. She traveled from New York to California and stayed for a while in the Sonoma compound where she remembered more of what happened that summer long ago.
At the concert in San Francisco Jesse managed to get up on stage, where she threw herself at Lestat. By doing this she got her suspicions confirmed: Mael and Maharet were vampires, just like she knew Lestat was. After being dragged off stage she was found sitting in a doorway by a vampire who identified her as part of the Talamasca. It threw her across the room, breaking her neck. Mael, who was at the concert to protect Jesse, took her from the hospital and gave her as much of his blood as he could to keep her alive. Jesse didn't want to die, and asked Mael to make her a vampire, and just before he did, Maharet came into the room and did it instead.
In regards to Jesse as a vampire, she is far more powerful than others of her age. This is because of the potent blood of Maharet which she received, much like David Talbot receiving the blood of Lestat.
In the novel and the 2002 film
In the novel, Jesse meets Lestat for the first time at his San Francisco concert, leaps into his arms, and is then pulled back from him by the concert-goers before finally being killed by a vampire after leaving the concert hall. Also in the novel, Jesse is thirty-five, is an apprentice for the Talamasca, and has psychic powers.
In the film, she's in her early twenties, doesn't have psychic powers, and is still an apprentice for the Talamasca. She is also still Maharet's niece and Maharet is a vampire just like her book counterpart.
In the film, she becomes enamored with Lestat and figures out his secret. They meet in an alleyway outside a nightclub called the "Admiral's Arms" after he saves her from a trio of vampires. During the scene it's shown that he is strongly attracted to her as well and that the closer that he gets to her, the more it's clear that he's just as much as attracted to her scent as he is to her boldness. For a moment it looks like that the only reason that he saved her was so that he could drain her himself, but after discovering that she works for the Talamascans, he lets her go (but not without displaying a strong dislike for the Talamasca, however).
After this event, she soon travels to his apartment and gives him back his journal. During that time, the two become very close as Jesse shares her dream with Lestat and as he shows her both the beauty and the horrors of being a vampire. A few nights later, Jesse attends Lestat's concert. (Instead of jumping into Lestat’s arms before being pulled back by the concert-goers like she did in the novel, Jesse attempts to warn him of the attacks by the vampires in the crowd by calling out his name, but this doesn’t work — although he defends himself very well.)
Near the end of the film, Queen Akasha (The Vampire Queen) has bewitched Lestat and has made him her king. Queen Akasha orders Lestat to kill Jesse and he obeys. Jesse is aware that the Queen has done something to Lestat and is willing to let him drain her of all her blood if it will free him. After Lestat drinks her blood, the spell is broken and he comes to his senses. Upon doing so, he becomes very deeply enraged at what Queen Akasha has made him do, and leads the charge against the Queen, and the other vampires drink her dry. After Akasha's death, Lestat cradles Jesse's body in his arms and looks at Maharet (who is now a statue as she had taken Akasha's death into herself).
With that, Lestat makes Jesse a vampire. The last scene in the film shows Lestat and Jesse returning to the Talamasca in order to give Lestat's journal back to David Talbot, the head of the order. Then the two head out into the city while holding hands (thus implying that they are together).