Who is Megan Bowen?
Megan Bowen is a South Korea-based African-American YouTube star and actress who is best known for her YouTube channel ‘Chonunmigooksaram’, through which she creates and shares contents related to Hallyu, or the Korean Wave. She moved to South Korea taking a job as an elementary English school teacher, but later left her job to pursue YouTube professionally. She has been the co-host of the show ‘Living English’ along with Hyunwoo Sun, on EBSe for three seasons since 2015. That year, the online reality series, ‘Blind Date Korea’, earned her popularity in the country. She also holds promotions and fan-meeting events for K-Pop idol groups. She made guest appearance on episode 12 of ‘B CRUZE’ on ARIRANG TV. She also appears in the ‘Megan's real Korea’ segment on KBS World TV. She owns a cross-boarding commerce business, which sends Korean beauty products and fashion items to subscribers in Latin American and Anglo-Saxon countries.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Megan Bowen originally created the YouTube channel ‘ChoNunMigookSaram’ (‘I am an American Person’) back in December 2010. In early 2012, after relocating to South Korea, she started posting videos on her YouTube channel primarily for her friends and family back in America, but also welcomed new audiences. In her videos, she described her experiences in the new country and talked about the cultural differences. She also put up videos guiding her viewers on how to teach abroad. She often shared her stories of what it is to be a foreigner there, about learning the nuances of the language, trying out new clothes or foods, and more. She also had the blog ‘migooksaram.blogspot.com’ to go with the channel. She soon gathered a sizeable number of Western followers, and branched into other types of videos like beauty, makeup, fashion, cooking and kpop. Once she reached about 50k YouTube subscribers, she decided to quit her job and focus fulltime on her YouTube career.
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Establishing Herself in South Korea
Initially Megan Bowen didn’t make enough money to sustain herself and stayed with a friend called Heather. During the eight months she stayed there, she focused on building her YouTube channel. At the time, she was invited to be a DJ at a kpop event by South Korean entertainer JJ, who encouraged her to make videos for KB. She was working under the D10 visa for some time, but the immigration department refused to give her a business visa as she didn’t major in marketing. She instead applied for the new entrepreneurial visa, entering the foreign business competition, and later established an entertainment management company.
What Makes Megan Bowen Special
Megan Bowen believes in learning things by trial and error, and preaches to her viewers to do the same by going to new places, meeting new people and trying new stuff. According to her, learning new ways of living life helps one grow. She feels that while one cannot choose where one is born, one can choose where to live most of his/her life, and in this time of globalization, it is only a bad idea to stay at one place forever when it is possible to experience a new culture by travelling only for a few hours. While she grew up in America, she always wanted to move to another country and chose South Korea as she felt that the culture and the food suited her. She provides advice to her viewers on how to become a YouTuber there, drawing from her own experiences.
Controversy Regarding Ethnicity
Megan Bowen’s parents are Black, but her grandparents had mixed ancestry. According to her, she has always been asked about her race by people, except for Korean Americans, and feels that her ‘racially ambiguous’ appearance often confuses people. She, as well as some of her friends, has experienced that one needs to be ‘dark’ in order to be considered Black. In early 2017, she shared with her followers that she was too white-skinned when she was born, which is why her father had done a DNA test to determine her heritage. She also shared the results of a DNA test she took that month, finding out that she has about 60 percent African ancestry.
Behind The Curtains
Megan Bowen was born on May 16, 1989 in Illinois. She is the eldest of seven children of her parents and has three brothers and three sisters. She grew up in Georgia, but went to college in Florida. She earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with focus on biomedical sciences and behavioral and social sciences from the University of Central Florida. She also minored in Spanish. As such, being an English teacher was never her goal. However, to be an elementary school teacher in South Korea, she needed a TEFL certificate, which she got via online courses.