She's young, but talented

She may only be 11 years old, but this little girl is proving to be one big powerhouse when it comes to comedy. A talent of Star Magic (formerly the ABS-CBN Talent Center), Johanna Kiray Celis was discovered by Willie Revillame...

By Aprylle Liabres (Contributor)

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Published: Mon 28 Aug 2006, 12:28 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:28 PM

after she joined a talent and personality contest for little girls on ABS-CBN's defunct noontime show Magandang Tanghali Bayan. Willie was immediately taken by Kiray's talent and intelligence, and that eventually led to her becoming a Star Magic talent.

Pretty soon, Kiray began popping up on various ABS-CBN shows, including Nginiig and SCQ Reload. She also had a cameo role in Pera o Bayong The Movie. But her biggest break was on Kampanerang Kuba, a fantasy series topbilled by Anne Curtis and based on Pablo S. Gomez's komiks novel of the same title.

These days, Kiray is seen regularly on the gag show Goin Bulilit, where she shares stellar billing with the other kiddie talents of ABS-CBN.

“I really love comedy,” says Kiray, who got her unusual nickname after she joined the contest. The name slipped out while she was being interviewed by Willie during the question-and-answer portion of the contest. It comes from 'Tiray', which is the nickname of their landlady. Willie was so entertained by it that he started calling her 'Kiray' instead of by her real name—and somehow, the nickname stuck.

It has apparently proved lucky for the little girl, since her career is heating up. Now, not only is she seen regularly on television, she's also making inroads into the movies.

She co-starred in the comedies Tanging Ina and Volta (both with Ai-Ai delas Alas) and in Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso, with Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, who gave her a brand-new cell phone, a Nokia 2600, as a birthday gift when she turned 11 last July 29.

At present, Kiray is a fifth grader under the Living Heritage Academy's Home Study program.

Her dream is to become like her idol, Ai-Ai delas Alas.

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