Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Monique Dean-Onyema

Good morning and happy Friday my fellow Gwangjuvians. The time has come once again to meet another active member of our fabulous community. This week we are going to hear all about a woman with an amazing voice and an amazing smile to match. Here in her own words in Monique a person you should know in Gwangju.


Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Japan

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Japan

Name…Monique Dean-Onyema

Occupation…ESL Teacher

Hometown…Schertz, Texas (30 minutes north of San Antonio)

Length of time in Korea….About 6 years. I lived in Daegu for three and half years, Gwangyang for one, and have been in Gwangju for a year and a half.

My hometown is famous for…Our annual Fourth of July Jubilee!

If I could have any superpower it would be…teleportation. It would make my life so much easier and I would get to visit home whenever I wanted.

My nickname is…I have many: Moni, Mo, Momo, Minnie, Minnie Mo but my family calls me “Nikki”.

The Vagina Monologues 2016 Open Mic Fundraiser at Dreamers

The Vagina Monologues 2016 Open Mic Fundraiser at Dreamers

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…Rupaul’s Drag Race.

The food I am best known for is…fish tacos. I probably ate them every other day when I was still living in Texas.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…Gwangju Performance Project!

On my days off I like to…Netflix and chill (literally).

My favorite movie is…The Color Purple.

How did you end up in Gwangju? When I lived in Gwangyang, I traveled to Gwangju often. I was on the ultimate frisbee team for a couple of seasons and participating in GPP productions. Just made sense to move here!

Cherry blossoms in Gwangyang

Cherry blossoms in Gwangyang

What is your best tip for living in Korea? Try to be as open-minded as possible, take other people’s advice with a grain of salt, experience things for yourself, and make genuine connections with people. They will become your family here.

2015 Cabaret Photo by Ben Robins Photography

2015 Cabaret Photo by Ben Robins Photography

What is the oddest job you have ever had? It’s not THAT odd, but I was a proctor and reader for the Office of Disability Services at my university. Most of the time, I sat in a room and recorded myself reading the required textbooks for students’ classes on cassette tape. It was Old school.

What is your favorite game to play? Scrabble.

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you…This question is always so hard to answer. The only interesting thing I can think of is that I played roller derby for a few years here in Korea. The league was called ROKD (Republic of Korea Derby) and my derby name was Minnie Mo Comin’. My team was Daegu-based and we were called the Daegoonies. #neversaydie

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? Gwangju Performance Project (GPP)

What clubs or community organization do you run in Gwangju? I’m co-president of the Gwangju Performance Project, and I also do the Global Report for This Morning News on GFN.

V Day Gwangju 2015

V Day Gwangju 2015

What is the thing you wish more people knew about your clubs or community organization? GPP is open to anyone and everyone whether you have zero experience in the performing arts or have a wide range of experience. I had never done theater or choir before joining the GPP and now I am in one of the prominent roles in our upcoming production of Little Shop Of Horrors. Everyone is really supportive, helpful, and wants everyone to be the best they can be. You just have to be open-minded and put your best foot forward!

We are also looking for people with business, marketing, fundraising, and multimedia experience. So, even if the performing arts is not really your thing, there really is something for everyone in GPP.

What is the most useful thing your business does for the people in Gwangju? We create opportunities for people to express themselves through the performing arts and continue to develop those skills through workshops and specialized groups.

What advice would you have for people looking to start a business like yours? “If you build it, they will come”. NAME. THAT. MOVIE!

What are some future plans that you have for your organization? After the success of our play-writing festival, Pen In Ten, last year, we hope to do it again in the summer of 2017.


You can find more information about GPP and their upcoming events on their website or on their facebook page They do have a few events coming up including an event in conjunction with Adopt a Child on November 19, you can find out more about it here