A Norwegian realty TV show introduced Ballardite Christoff Elster (center) to his distant Norwegian relative, Jens Stoltenberg the Prime Minister of Norway.
Norwegian reality TV show reunites Ballardite with famous Norwegian relative
At the end of last year, Norwegian reality TV hosts, Thomas Gullestad and Esben Selvig, traveled across America in search of Norwegian heritage for their new show, Uncle America. Specifically, they were tracking down Americans who are related to Norwegian immigrants and modern Norwegian celebrities.
And of course it was during their stop in Seattle that they found what they were looking for.
In addition to finding a cult group that still worship the Norse god Odin, the TV show producers also found a Ballardite with lineage to a very powerful Norwegian.
After months of researching the Elster family heritage, Ballard High School graduate Christoff Elster received a phone call inviting him to participate in the reality TV show.
Elster, a former Ballard High and UW Cheer Captain, and current head coach of the Co-ed UW Cheer Squad, is not shy in front of a camera and agreed to go on the adventure.
The jetlag had barely faded when the BNT spoke with Elster about his whirlwind trip to Norway and meeting his famous distant relative.
"It was very weird," Elster said. "The producers first contacted my family in June about some geneology thing but I didn't really know what it was about."
Then in late December Elster received a Saturday morning phone call asking him to participate in a Norwegian TV show. Shortly thereafter a film grew showed up to film him at a UW cheer practice and brought along a life-size cutout picture of his famous relative.
"As it turns out, I'm related to the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg," Elster said.
Elster said he has never been interested in his distant Norwegian heritage and had never even crossed the Atlantic before.
But before he knew it, he was on a plane to Norway, accompanied by his brother Gavin, to meet their distant Norwegian relative, Prime Minister Stoltenberg.
"The whole trip was very quick," Elster said. "I was gone for only four days and [the prime was super busy so we met for maybe five minutes."
Elster said finding a relative to the Norwegian prime minister was a big deal for the production company.
"Most of the show is about the search for us and about Norwegian-American geneology but also to feature the unusual, quirky things to do in each city," Elster said. "Being able to do a meeting with the prime minister really was the icing on the cake for them."
The show will air only in Norway and Elster said he didn't even have time to pose for a picture with Stoltenberg.
"Overall it was kind of a fun experience," said Elster.