Kelli Berglund is an American actress, born on February 9th, 1996. She has had a wonderful career starring in shows such as Lab Rats (2012-2016), and movies like How to Build a Better Boy (2014). Her comedy career has been amazing, but now, she has landed the serious and challenging role of Crystal in new Starzplay drama, Heels.
Heels follows the story of Jack (Stephen Amell) and Ace Spade (Alexander Ludwig), two brothers who are at each other’s throats after their father died, leaving behind his wrestling promotion and a mighty sports entertainment legacy.
They each have their own battles to face, but their war is the same; beat the other brother and win the title.
The show contains themes of love, family, loss and determination, as Jack and Ace aren’t the only ones who wish to excel in the field of wrestling.
We spoke with Kelli about the show, her character, what she did to prepare for a role like never before and, how much she adores the new fictional world around her.
Kelli began to tell us about who Crystal is, “Ace’s valet in this show... which is essentially a manager and also kind of a cheerleader”. She went on to say that her character is a “small-town girl, working-class girl who I think has really big dreams”.
Crystal’s tenacity is definitely shown in the trailer, as her attitude suggests she is more than a valet; she can wrestle with the best of them.
Kelli told us how this role was perfectly suited to her, as she has “been Crystal in my life, I have had to make my voice known... and prove that I am as much of a value than anyone else.”
The actress’ love for her character is clear, as it seems the two are the same side of a single coin, so for Kelli to represent herself through this role makes the show even more unique.
“There’s more to Crystal than meets the eye,” Kelli says when asked what she loves most about her character. The character has a “quiet resilience” about her according to Kelli, which shines through when she shows people she can go toe-to-toe with anyone and will stand her ground.
Talking about training for her role, the first thing Kelli said was that it was “extremely intense”, and that she “changed my whole life, I wasn’t much of a gym girl before this, and boy have I become a gym girl now”.
Kelli went from not being too physical to enjoying her training and leaning further and further into her exciting new role as Crystal.
Despite the five-day training weeks and tonnes of prep, Kelli said it was still “really fun” as she loved the people she was working with, making it more enjoyable for her to complete this intense training.
“Any type of work that I need to put in... I am super willing to do”, continued Kelli. Due to the nature of her role, the actress was willing to work day and night and learn anything she could to make Crystal’s role as amazing and realistic as it could be.
When asked how else, other than physically, she prepared for the role, Kelli stated that she had to “start from zero in terms of my wrestling knowledge”, as she has never been one for sports.
“It was totally just from zero to one hundred learning how to wrestle and that it’s more than just remembering moves,” Kelli goes on to say. This goes to show that, coming from a beginner, wrestling isn’t as easy as just remembering what to do in the ring and how to move, there is a lot more to the sport that physicality.
Kelli joyfully goes on to state that “there’s so much that goes into it... and speaking to your opponent in the ring and... keeping your persona up in the real world and make people believe that this is actually who you are”.
The dedicated actress has put so much into her new role, and just through her spots in the trailer we can see everything she has worked hard for shine through Crystal.
When asked how filming went while on-set, Kelli told us that everyone remained as safe as possible and every precaution was taken to protect both cast and crew in the midst of the pandemic.
“It was hard... masks always. When they call cut is when the masks go back on and when they call action is when it comes off.”
“Otherwise”, continued Kelli, “we are masked up, socially distanced and staying safe, which is interesting for a wrestling show where you have to be so close to each other all the time.”
It seems everyone on-set took every care to protect those around them, especially since they all felt like family due to the extended periods of time everyone had to spend together.
One of the things Kelli said when asked about what she loved about the show, is “this town, Duffy, that our writer Michael Waldron has created, it feels like such a real place”, she says with adoration.
“It doesn’t feel like this fantasy world... you feel like you know this town and you know these people... it feels so personal,” Kelli says, “that I think people will be instantly drawn in because of that alone.”
She goes on to say that all the characters, their mistakes and blunders feel “very real”, which is everything you want in a drama show such as Heels.
“The wrestling part of this show is really fantastic,” Kelli says when thinking about what she’s most excited for viewers to see, “it’s very cinematic... it looks so cool, so amazing, it’s just done in such a way that’s really exciting.”
“You don’t need to love wrestling to love this show.”
Kelli was such a joy to speak with, and her character, Crystal, stole the show when Heels debuted on Starzplay on August 15th, 2021. New episodes are released each Sunday to the streaming service.
Check out the trailer for Heels down below!
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
Tagged in Heels