Nina arrives in Walford looking for a fresh start away from her past as a prostitute. Nina had helped imprison her violent pimp Vinny, a former boyfriend who had got her addicted to drugs and then persuaded her to turn to prostitution so she could feed their habit. She stays with aunt Irene Raymond and settles in by becoming a barmaid in The Queen Victoria.
Nina had been neglected as a child by her mother Jenny, Irene's sister, and her troubled past fuels her ambition to become a probation officer; she studies hard to achieve this goal. While in Albert Square her good looks do not go unnoticed by the male population as she moves in with good friend and admirer Beppe di Marco, then starts dating his enemy Grant Mitchell, who is smitten with her. The two men come to blows when Nina's past unravels by an ex-client called Dean Collins who has been blackmailing her. Grant reacts in disgust; he tells the rest of Walford about Nina's past and their relationship ends with no hope of a reconciliation.
A few months later she dates Mick McFarlane but has to leave the Square behind to look after her dying father who has been absent most of her life. Nina knows it is the right thing to do; she bids farewell to her friends and family and leaves for good.