Emma Frost was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to the wealthy Winston and Hazel Frost; she is the second of three daughters and also had an older brother, Christian Frost. Winston is cold, ruthless, and domineering, often imposing impossibly high standards on his children, while Hazel abuses prescription drugs to cope with the tensions of her household. Thus, Emma obtains no emotional support from her parents or her sisters Adrienne and Cordelia, but gets along with her gay brother Christian.
At her school, she is ruthlessly teased by the other students and has difficulties with her grades. She is supported by her teacher, Ian Kendall. After some time with headaches, her telepathic powers begin to manifest, allowing her to read the minds of other students and get answers to the tests. Because she is able to glean information, Emma becomes a tutor to other students and Ian recommends her to be a teacher, something Emma's father refuses.
On her way home from school one day, Emma's car breaks down and Ian gives her a ride home. After reading his thoughts and learning that he thinks she is beautiful and intelligent, Emma kisses him. Her sister Adrienne records it and her father uses the evidence to get Ian fired. Emma begins to fight back by revealing Adrienne's secret modeling career and taking pictures of her father with a mistress. Her actions intrigue her father, who says that she reminds him of himself at her age. Her father chooses her to carry on his fortune, but after seeing her father betray her trust and commit Christian to a mental institution following a suicide attempt, Emma rejects his offer and decides to make her own way in life.
After a period of homelessness, Emma meets and falls in love with a young man named Troy, who agrees to let Emma live with him. She learns that he owes a large amount of money to a local mobster named Lucien. In order to save Troy's life, Emma agrees to participate in a fake kidnapping scheme in an attempt to extort the remainder of Troy's debt from her father. However, Winston refuses to pay the ransom, and Troy is killed while valiantly attempting to save Emma from an enraged Lucien. After disposing of Troy's corpse, Lucien's thugs handcuff Emma to a pipe and seal her mouth shut with duct tape, intending to kill her later. Adrienne releases Lucien's ransom video to the media, forcing Winston to pay for Emma's safe release. Not content with the money, Lucien still decides to kill her, but by using her powers, Emma turns the thugs against one another and then forces the remaining henchman to free her.
Emma takes the ransom money and enrolls in Empire State University. There, she begins to learn about mutants for the first time. She briefly dates a basketball player; however after their first date, he mysteriously attacks her and is reported. She also meets a fellow telepath named Astrid Bloom, who becomes her friend and mentor. Emma is also shocked to learn that Ian is also working at ESU and is dating her roommate. Emma, who still loves him, begins to date him and is horrified to later learn that he was caught attacking her roommate.
Emma later learns that Astrid was secretly behind both the basketball player and Ian's attacks. Furious, she attacks Astrid telepathically and leaves her comatose. Though she is able to use her powers to save Ian's job, he rejects her when she confesses her powers as a mutant to him. She becomes cold towards humans after this, and later auditions as a dancer for the Hellfire Club, an underground elite society. Emma discovers the plans of Edward Buckman and Steven Lang to destroy all mutants. Alongside Sebastian Shaw, Lourdes Chantel, and Harry Leland, Emma battles Lang's Sentinels. Alongside Shaw, she kills Buckman and the Council of the Chosen, then – along with Shaw – takes control of the Hellfire Club, setting themselves up as Lords Cardinal of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club.
Emma in her original look as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Art by John Bolton. White Queen of the Hellfire ClubEmma Frost becomes the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. She becomes the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Frost International, which helps to fund the activities of the Lords Cardinal. Frost also becomes the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, a school for mutants which serves as a counterpoint to Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, recruiting young mutants competitively with Xavier by using a bug planted in Cerebro. Frost and the Club's agents later attempted to recruit Kitty Pryde for the Massachusetts Academy, and capture (and personally torture) several members of the X-Men, including Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, and Phoenix (then masquerading as Jean). Frost engages Phoenix in a psychic battle in which she is overpowered and on the verge of being killed. Frost launches a last-minute attack that led the X-Men to believe she had committed suicide, though in truth, she was comatose and recovering from Phoenix's attack under the care of Sebastian Shaw. In another encounter with the Hellfire Club, Frost telepathically forces Kitty Pryde's parents to transfer her from Xavier's to the Massachusetts Academy. She then switches minds with Storm in order to defeat the X-Men from within their own ranks, but the process is soon reversed and the two are restored to their respective bodies. She was later temporarily rendered comatose by Mastermind.
During her time with the Hellfire Club, Frost continues to run the Massachusetts Academy. Frost's trainees become the supervillain team known as the Hellions while she serves as the Hellions' mentor. She recruits Firestar for the Massachusetts Academy, but then battles Firestar. She attempts to recruit Doug Ramsey for the Massachusetts Academy, and captures Kitty Pryde again. With the Hellions, she battles the Hellion's rival team, Xavier's New Mutants for the first time. When the New Mutants are later killed and resurrected by Beyonder, they are left traumatized and withdrawn. Frost offers her assistance in telepathically restoring them to their former selves. She then coerces their headmaster Magneto into allowing them to join the Massachusetts Academy. With Shaw and Selene, she invites Magneto to join the Hellfire Club. She engineers a contest between the New Mutants and Hellions, and recruits Magma for the Massachusetts Academy, and then has Empath accompany Magma to her home of Nova Roma. Alongside Magneto, Shaw, and Selene, she battles the High Evolutionary's forces to rescue Magma. She later helps Magneto search for the New Mutants when they had gone missing; alongside Magneto, Shaw, and Selene, Emma encounters the effects of the Inferno. Alongside Magneto, Shaw, and Selene, she battles the New Mutants, and votes to oust Shaw from the Club.
When the time traveling mutant Trevor Fitzroy unleashes the mutant-hunting robots called the Sentinels on Emma Frost and the Hellions, Emma places herself in a psychic coma in order to survive the ordeal and nearly all of her students are killed. She later awakens in the Xavier Academy. Disoriented, she switches minds with Iceman and escapes but when she discovers the deaths of her students, Professor Xavier is able to coax a devastated Emma Frost to switch back.
Emma Frost is a mutant psion of enormous telepathic ability, and is also capable of transforming into an organic diamond state with enhanced strength and durability which suppresses her telepathy.
Telepathy Since her introduction, Emma Frost's primary mutant power has been telepathy. She is capable of extraordinary psionic feats, including the telepathic standards of: broadcasting and receiving thoughts, mind-control, altering perceptions and memories, psychic shielding, astral projection, mind switching, brain engram modification, mental sedation, and induction of mental pain via touch. She is also able to boost or activate a mutant's powers through access of their brain's neurological pathways, and can communicate across global distances unaided. The exact level of her telepathic power has varied depending on writers and has ranged from weaker than other prominent telepaths to rivaling the abilities of Charles Xavier himself. She has also been referred to as a "psi of the highest order," been ranked among the five most skilled telepaths on the planet, and has demonstrated the ability to overcome more powerful telepaths, such as Nate Grey, or Rachel Summers, through greater experience and skill. Later, under the writing of Matt Fraction, Emma was classified as an "omega-class" telepath".
Diamond form At the moment of the destruction of Genosha, Frost manifested a secondary mutation giving her the ability to transform her body into organic diamond. In this form, Frost is translucent and retains mobility while being nigh invulnerable and able to support incredible amounts of weight, though different writers have shown varying accounts of her strength. Her diamond form was at least strong enough for her to tear out of bonds and, in a single punch, send Lady Mastermind soaring across a room and straight through a wall.
Emma's diamond body is virtually tireless as she does not produce fatigue poisons and has no need for water nor food. She is also numbed from emotion, pain and empathy, impervious to cold, and resistant to heat in this form. Despite this high level of invulnerability, her diamond form has a single molecular flaw, which if exploited – such as being shot with a diamond bullet – can cause her body to shatter. Though the exact location of the flaw in her diamond body has not been stated outright, clues point to it being located in between her eyes.
Frost's full range of abilities between her diamond state and regular form have been inconsistent; however, later occurrences depict that Frost cannot access her psychic powers in diamond form, explained by different writers as either a distinct genetic flaw or suppression by her diamond form's adamantine luster. Depictions have also stated that Emma has a degree of telepathic immunity while in diamond form, though the extent of this immunity has been portrayed inconsistently as well, ranging from total shielding from psychic invasion to vulnerability to psychic attack. Her diamond form is also stated to emit low-level ultraviolet light, causing it to glow in darkness.
 Innate traits and expertiseFrost has a gifted intellect with college degrees in multiple fields, including a Bachelors of Science in Education with a minor in Business Administration from the prominent Marvel Universe's Empire State University. A superb businesswoman, Emma Frost for many years was founder and CEO of Frost Enterprises, a major multinational conglomerate headquartered in New York City that rivaled Stark Enterprises and Worthington Industries and specialized in shipping, aerospace engineering and new technology R&D.
Frost is also a highly capable planner, an electronics expert, and can invent machines that grant various psionic abilities, such as "Multivac", a mutant locater capable of monitoring the psionic levels of mutants; the "Hallucinator" used to induce hypnotic hallucinations to brainwash others; the gun-like device that enabled her to exchange minds and powers with Storm; and the Mindtap mechanism which enhanced and enabled her Hellfire cohort Mastermind to project his illusions directly into the mind of the Phoenix.
Telekinetic potentialOn occasion, it has been hinted that Frost is also a latent telekinetic. Jean Grey's displaced psyche was able to use Frost's brain to generate a telekinetic force field and fly, while it inhabited the White Queen's body. During the Onslaught Saga, Frost unwittingly levitated several kitchen utensils while having a bad dream. When the mutant Synch "synched" with Frost's powers, he was able to use them to levitate several objects and individuals in the room. This phenomenon is then referred to as telekinesis and credited to Frost's psi powers