She was born in Utrecht where her parents owned and ran the Commerce Hotel. Sylvia and her sister, Marianne, were brought up in Room 21, unless the hotel was full, in which case they were shifted, often in the middle of the night, to Room 22 which, according to the actress, is like a cupboard.
Began modeling at age 17.
Entered the Miss TV Europe contest and won, which led to her movie career.
Wannabe writer/director Philippe Blot approached Sylvia Kristel in Amsterdam, saying that only she could play the female lead in his script. He convinced her to marry him and to star in a total of three motion pictures for him, by which time he had spend so much money that they both ended up in debt.
Has a reported IQ of 164 and skipped four grades in school.