Kristin Bauer van Straten is an American film and television actress, notable for her roles as vampire Pamela Swynford De Beaufort on the HBO television series True Blood, Jerry's girlfriend Gillian ("man hands") on Seinfeld, and as Maleficent in the ABC series Once Upon a Time.
Bauer van Straten was born Kristin Neubauer in Racine, Wisconsin. She is of German descent. During childhood, she played sports, rode horses, and fired shotguns. She graduated from The Prairie School in Wind Point.
Bauer van Straten studied fine arts at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as in Boston and at New York City’s Parsons The New School for Design in her youth, but decided to become an actress and moved to Los Angeles, where she has been living since she began acting in 1994. She continues to draw and paint. Her works include commissioned portraits.
On August 1, 2009, she married musician Abri van Straten.