Young Ipswich actress Kirra Strudwick at River Heart Parklands.
Young Ipswich actress Kirra Strudwick at River Heart Parklands. David Nielsen

Stars in her eyes

WHO hasn't dreamed of being a star at some point when they were a kid?

For young Ipswich girl, Kirar, she has that dream, but is actively doing something about it.

The primary school student spends around 16 hours a week doing dancing, singing, acting, musical theatre, piano and acro gymnastic lessons plus still manages to go out and attend auditions all with the help of her mum Mercy,

You might recognise Kirar on the 'Fairer Fares' ads for the Translink Queensland or the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital ad. She's also filmed an episode for a childrens TV show 'Crocomole' on Channel 10 which aired last year. She has appeared in ads for Auswide Bank and My Little Pony which has had close to 1 million views.

She boasts almost 4,500 followers on Instagram plus has just finished filming a couple of short films, plus has just landed a supporting actors role on an upcoming feature film.

Not bad for a girl who hasn't even seen her 9th birthday!

Toowoomba has Geoffrey Rush, and Sydney has Cate Blanchett. Maybe Kirar could be the next one to put Ipswich on the entertainment map?

Kirar's mother, Mercy, helps to run the family Mechanical Business. Outside work hours she is her daughter's manager and publicist and also helps out with the accounts for Kirar's Dance Studio. It is a big task for any mum to drive the kids to dance and music classes, but add into the mix auditions and filming and you end up with one very busy family.

"Kirar started singing when she was about 16 months," Mercy said. "I thought at the time that she could really sing.

"She started dancing lessons when she was two, singing and piano lessons at age four, then acting, musical theatre and gymnastics at six. I was trying different things to see what she likes, but she likes everything!

"Now it is fast becoming a problem trying to manage the lot. I've already said that next year she has to decide what to put her focus into. I always wanted singing to be her thing but I think it's going more down the road of acting now."

Mercy accepts that there is always going to be criticism when a child is so busy in the entertainment industry, but she wants to keep her daughter grounded at all times.

"She just loves what she does," Mercy said. "I'm driving her all over the place for auditions and such, but she appreciates it. Afterwards she always thanks me. She said the other day 'I'm scared I'm gonna wake up one day and be just a normal kid and don't actually do everything I do'.

"I do cop a bit of flack...and that's to be expected, but I don't push her to do anything she doesn't want to. I've asked her to ease up on dancing because to be honest, dancing really isn't my thing but she wants to do it and enjoys it. I do cop it, some people say 'let her be normal a child', but she is a normal child as anyone who meets her will agree with," Mercy said. "She just happens to be busier than other kids.

"She just loves being on the stage and performing. I guess it all depends now on how things go this year with getting successful roles as to where the energy should go in future.

"Kirar doesn't get tired, she has so much energy, I've no idea where from. Kirar misses out on a bit of school, but all this started last year, and has gotten even busier this year. Weekdays are long days for her, she is rarely home before 7pm so I try to keep the weekends free.

"She doesn't talk too much about what she does, it's important to keep her grounded. She told me when shes's rich and famous she's going to buy me a house, but I told her I don't want a new house because I can't see myself leaving our home in Ipswich. Our kids grew up in our house, you can't walk away from a home like that which is full of memories."

Kirar scored the lead role in the Short Film 'Drawing Hope' which she filmed in March. The movie was directed and written by New York Film Academy student Chris Le Roy.

Chris's last two movies won awards overseas, and one even made the semi-finals at the Hollywood Film Festival. Drawing Hope will be sent to over 200 film festivals around the world and the film is already off to a good start. The script for the movie has been selected as a finalist in a film festival in the US.

"The film hasn't even premiered yet!" Mercy said. "That's just the script. This means the chances of getting the movie to a feature film or TV Show has just gone up big time.

"The film is about an 8 year old girl, Hope (played by Kirar). Hope and her family lose their home and all their family possessions to a fire. All except Hope's most treasured possession, her 'magical' colouring pencils. Her family has no choice but to live in a homeless shelter. As family relationships begin to fall apart, Hope sets out to save her family with the power of her pencils. The film screening will be held at the New York Film Academy Premiere at Event Cinemas at the Gold Coast early June."

Kirar's unique look has caught the attention of agents and casting directors, and as she adds to her resume, she's getting noticed.

"We signed up with Who Artists when she was about to turn six. I manage most of her stuff online, like her profile, social media accounts, finding auditions, making and editing videos, photos and such, however her agent works hard to find her work and submit her.

"At the start nobody wanted her and was told there's no point as there isn't much around for people of her 'ethnicity'. That same agent, who said that, has since been in touch looking to sign her up!

"She's a mix of Australian and Filipino, she's got a unique look, and that's what casting directors have told us. Kirar did a casting workshop recently and the director at that audition has just signed to do a movie with Chris Hemsworth. He said he'd have her any day because of her look."

While Kirar wants to enjoy her primary school years, she's also got her eyes on fame as a career. Luckily, there is a backup plan.

"If I can't be a movie star, I want to be a doctor. I want to help people." Kirar said. "If I could be anything in the world though I'd be a movie star. It would be nice to have houses all over the world, but I love living in Ipswich."

At home, Kirar is enjoying the fruits of her success, as best a young girl can. "I got like, a million toys for doing the My Little Pony ad," Kirar said. "Well, maybe not a million. Some. Ummm...lots!

"The best thing about doing ads is seeing it when it's on TV or online. My school, family and friends are all so supportive."

Mercy has her hands full working in the family business and managing her daughter's career. Maybe one day it will all be worth it. Watch this space Australia!

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