In 2010, Shetty participated in a beauty contest organized by The Times of India, Clean & Clear Fresh Face. Competing in Mumbai, she won the event there and went on to win it again at the national level, eventually becoming the face of the brand for a year. She made her film debut in 2012, with a Tulu film, Telikeda Bolli. During the time, she appeared in various other television commercials. This was when film directors Vetrimaaran and Manimaran approached her to play the lead role in their venture, Udhayam NH4. The film saw her play a Bangalore-based Tamil-speaking college girl, who elopes with the character played by Siddharth. She gained mixed reviews for her portrayal in the film, with a reviewer noting she could be a promising actress in the making. Sangeeta Devi from The Hindu said "Newcomer Ashrita Shetty shows promise and her capability of bringing to the screen the vulnerability and innocence of a 17/18-year-old makes her endearing. This girl has huge potential." She then signed the lead in the action adventure film Indrajith opposite Gautham Karthik.