Kelly Richardson grew up in Berkeley, California. As a child, she was a competitive gymnast and performed in regional theater and dance shows. In high school, she worked at a Scuba shop, where she amassed certifications including Rescue Diver and Divemaster. During breaks, she worked on scuba boats in Southern California, and later in Turks and Caicos Islands. She majored in Spanish at U.C. Berkeley, and minored in Theater, with an additional emphasis in Dance. She performed in many on-campus productions and competed for the UCB Triathlon Team. She trained at The Ailey School for dance in New York City. During the winters, she worked at Northstar-at-Tahoe as a Ski and Snowboard instructor. After graduating from college, she moved to Brazil and joined a Circus, performing as an aerialist and acrobat, and as the sole non-Brazilian performer in the tent. There, she learned her third language, Portuguese, and was embraced by the Brazilian circus community. The inspiration for her film, Without A Net, came from her experience with an outreach program offered to children and teenagers living in the slums in the vicinity of the circus, and she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to produce it. Kelly's completed film was called "incisive" and "intimate" by the Los Angeles Times, screened in numerous film festivals domestically and internationally, and won several festival awards. In 2013, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a stuntwoman and actress in film and television.