Interview with Moogega Cooper

Interview with Moogega Cooper An online community for mixed-race Koreans

David Lee Sanders

Moogega (무지개) Cooper was a top competitor on season one of TBS’s reality competition show, King of the Nerds. It premiered on TBS in January 2013 and the season just ended in early March 2013.

The King of the Nerds premise: “The series will follow 11 fierce competitors from across the nerd spectrum as they set out to win $100,000 and be crowned the greatest nerd of them all.”

Although she did not win the competition, Moogega did place 5th overall and gained a considerable fan following from her involvement on King of the Nerds.

Her “day job” is as a Planetary Protection Engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a NASA field center. Although the job title may sound a little nerdy, it is quite an interesting and important job in relation to space research and exploration.

We were able to cover some of Moogega’s personal background, her professional career and, of course, discuss her King of the Nerds experience and are pleased to present this interview.

Please note that comments/questions are in BOLD.

Background: The Basics on Moogega

Where and when were you born, raised and currently reside?
I was born in 1985 in Southern New Jersey. I was raised there until I was 10 years old. We then all moved to Virginia. Once I finished graduate school in Philadelphia I moved to southern California for my job. I won’t leave southern California at all because I love it here!

How did your parents meet?
They met in Korea. My dad would go there several times to just hang out. He used to be in the military and would go back and forth. He met my mom through mutual friends. I kind of want to get a shirt made that says “Made in Korea” as I was definitely conceived there. They had a small ceremony in Korea and he then brought her back to the United States where they were married in the US…

Did you grow up around other mixed Koreans or people of mixed heritage?
What was very interesting was that because we were around a lot of military people, there were a lot of mixed heritage people. No one that was mixed exactly like me but I was used to growing up with a rainbow of people.

Did you ever experience any identity issues while growing up?
A lot of people when they look at me and when I reveal to them that I’m half Korean, they say that they don’t see it at all and think that I’m black. I get a lot of people that say that and they try to impose their own classification of my identity and I embrace both sides…

Read the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , , ,