Triinu Kivilaan (born January 13, 1989 in Viljandi, Estonia) is an Estonian vocalist and former model, best known as a former member of the popular girl group Vanilla Ninja. She had been modelling for several years when she replaced Maarja Kivi in the group in 2004, having met the other members of the group a year earlier. A key factor, allegedly, in her being selected to join the group was the similarities between her and Kivi’s appearance. Kivilaan was (by several years) the youngest member of the group, and continued with her education despite Vanilla Ninja’s busy schedule.
When Kivilaan joined the group, Vanilla Ninja had already been chosen to represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. Kivilaan’s arrival jeopardised Vanilla Ninja’s participation in the Contest, as she was only 15 years old, and after the appearance of young participants such as 1986 winner Sandra Kim, the Eurovision had set an age requirement that all participants must be at least 16. Kivilaan initially claimed to be 17 years old, but the Swiss selectors doubted this and discovered her true age.
For a while it looked like the group would have to withdraw, but the fact that Kivilaan would reach her 16th birthday four months before the Contest meant that the European Broadcasting Union allowed the girls to compete.
During her time in the group, Triinu only played a bit part in Vanilla Ninja’s songs, despite her replacing the group’s original lead singer. Kivilaan mostly only provided backing vocals and basic instrumentation during live performances, and was essentially separated from the other three members during their semi-final and final performances at the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. Kivilaan also only appeared sparingly in the group’s music videos, with the exception of “When The Indians Cry”, in which she featured prominentl.