Kristel was born to an opera singer, Kai Elling. Practically raised in the theatre, her first appearance was on her mother’s lap (at eleven months old), on Estonia’s biggest stage, the Theatre Vanemuine. By the age of four she was cast as Jake’s child on the same stage in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
After finishing high school, she continued her training at the highly selective Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Upon completing the rigorous four year program at a classical conservatory, she entered the world of professional acting.
In the subsequent two years Kristel was cast in projects alongside some of Estonia’s most honored stage and film directors. She played parts in various feature films, including Elmo Nüganen’s Mindless and Peeter Urbla’s Shop of Dreams, as well as guest and recurring roles in TV series such as Ohtlik Lend and Brigaad 3, popular Estonian TV dramas.
After two years of working in her homeland, she decided to move to London, England, and find work on a larger scale. She was offered a spot at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama which Kristel completed with a Master’s Degree in Acting. During her studies she was also honored with a scholarship for outstanding talent.
While living in London, she was cast in many independent shorts and feature films, including roles on Great Britain’s largest broadcast networks, including Channel 4 and ITV. In addition to her television and film work, Kristel continued her stage work, touring and performing in shows across Europe, including her personal favorite, the Vagina Monologues.
In August 2013 she decided to move to America and try out her talent in Hollywood. Within the first year she had earned her SAG-AFTRA membership. Her recent credits include a supporting role in a Hallmark movie How Not to Propose, a Russian cosmonaut in Dos Equis TV commercial, and also worked on numerous short films and TV series.
Nearly a decade ago, Kristel started creating her own content. She wrote, produced and starred in From Me – a short film about love, passion and unstoppable hope. The film was co-directed by Academy Award Nominated director, Tanel Toom. Recently Kristel completed writing a feature length psychological thriller called Cornflower Blue. She hopes this movie will see the light of the day in the near future. Currently it’s in active development.
Her Scandinavian look and heritage, fluent Russian and slim figure (the result of a lifelong commitment to yoga, dance, gymnastics and martial arts) have made her the obvious choice for Bond-girl-style action heroines and alluring femme fatales. Her half decade long commitment to martial arts recently earned her a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
With a dedication to her craft and an unparalleled work ethic, she has also proven herself adept at more diverse and complex roles that truly give her the opportunity to create subtle and enchanting art.