Zoe was born in New Zealand to Tish and Andrew Bell. She has one younger brother named Jake. Growing up she participated in competitive gymnastics until she was fifteen, when she quit gymnastics to study tae kwon do. Zoe attended Auckland Girls' Grammar and Selwyn College.
One of Zoe's first jobs as a stuntie was to provide background action on a television pilot called Amazon High for Renaissance Studios, which also made Hercules the Legendary Journeys and Xena Warrior Princess. Her career as a stunt double took off in 1995 when she won the job of doubling Lucy Lawless on Xena. She fractured some vertebrae in her back doing wire work for the show, but she continued working for a week afterwards until another stunt, which involved breaking a chair on her back, incapacited her. In the years following Xena she did a number of small films and tv stunt work.
She was then hired to double Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Initially hired as Thurman's "crash and smash" double, they soon realized Bell would also make an ideal body double for fight scenes and she was trained in the wushu martial arts as they filmed. Near the end of filming for Kill Bill: Vol 2, she injured her ribs and the ligaments in her wrist and was forced to spend several months recuperating.
Tarantino was deeply impressed with her and cast her in his next film Grindhouse, in which she plays herself and performs her own stunts. She also did stunt work for the movie Catwoman, doing high falls and doubling Sharon Stone.
In 2004, Zoe starred along with Jeannie Epper in the documentary Double Dare. It focused on the two women as they attempted to find success in Hollywood, with the older Jeannie becoming a mentor for Zoe. The filming of Double Dare covered Zoe's career from the end of Xena to the beginning of her work on Kill Bill: Vol 1.