Sunday Omony - Ugandan Queen of Comedy on African Women's Week 2010
African parents just don't understand.
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First published: August 19, 2010
With the exception of 2009 where we only featured known Ugandan musicians, every year when we run African Women’s Week we run into an interview that we figure we will interview some relatively unknown talent, we take it lightly and then suddenly realize as we are working on the subject’s article that wow… this is a REAL talent.
In 2006, although ALL the articles where big in their own way, and we knew the Mirembe Campbell would get a lot of attention because of her story and beautiful top quality photos. And so it did…But the “surprise” to me was the Tshila story. We had interviewed her before and I was surprised at how much she had done between her first and second interview. The growth had been enormous. In 2007, the pleasant surprise was Omega. A couple of weeks before starting running all the articles, at the last minute, I decided to have her featured and I knew we had something special when she sent a couple of well performed songs to showcase her talent. I asked Jane to do the interview and when it was done I was pleasantly surprised by her story and what she represented. In 2008, the pleasant surprise was Ida Horner who I wanted to be interviewed because I knew she was working on a charity project that had paid UGPulse to run an ad. I figured an interview would help the charity out but the story I got was more than I asked for. I was pleasantly surprised by how active Ida had been… and still is.
Okay… So I was set to interview a Ugandan stand up comedian… I mean… a Ugandan stand up comedian… for African Women’s Week! I mean how funny could that get? So I was prepared to be polite… “At least, she is also a model and has photos to show for it,” I said to myself.
But during my interview with her, she mentioned she has some jokes on Youtube and when I looked her up I couldn’t do anything but crack up. She is funny, well rehearsed, confident and definitely a must see if you happen to be in her hood in Canada. Otherwise you should probably hire her to appear and host your next event. And you better do it while you can afford her for there are people noticing and this young comedian’s schedule is slowly becoming tighter. She just got done co-hosting Afrikadey Music Festival on Prince Island in Canada which featured K’naan as their main artist.
Sunday Omony was born in the war-torn region of northern Uganda. Her family migrated to Canada in 1991. Through life altering situations Sunday has persevered to become a talented model and comedian. Sunday is a firm believer in giving back and as a result is a very active member in her community. She founded a non-profit organization in 2004 called Immigrant Youth Empowerment Society. Sunday modeled and wrote for the book All Kids Have Dreams by Aspen. She was recognized by the University of Calgary for her work in the community. Sunday continues to partner with organizations promoting peace, education and community leadership.
Peter: You just won a Community Leadership Award from the University of Calgary… Tell us more about that.
Sunday: I was recognized by the University of Calgary for my work in the community. The University of Calgary does an excellent job of encouraging students to volunteer and give back to their communities. I’ve received personal and professional growth from volunteering for various organizations. I encourage more young people to volunteer and be an agent for change.
Peter: What motivates you to be so involved in your community?
Sunday: I want to be a part of positive changes in my community. For the past eight years I've had the pleasure to work closely with youth, the homeless community, disabled clients and immigrant families. Every volunteer experience has been different for me because I always learn something new and meet great people.
Peter: This is your new community… and you are originally from one that is so far away… We know that you are Ugandan but tell us a little more of where exactly you come from and the community that you were born into.
Sunday: I was born on a Sunday in Kitgum, Uganda. I am Acholi. I was six years old when my family migrated to Canada in 1991 and since then we've been active members of the Ugandan Association in Alberta.
Peter: Why did you leave Uganda?
Sunday: My parents decided to leave Uganda for us (their children) because they wanted more educational opportunities for us.
Peter: Now you are a model AND a comedian… An interesting combination…
Sunday: Yes, it is an interesting combination. I never dreamed of becoming a model or doing stand-up comedy.
Live at FunnyFest
Peter: Which of the two puts more food on the table and which of the two is more demanding?
Sunday: Modeling and modeling. I always try my best to have clear skin (Clean & Clear face wash), be well rested (MAC concealer), have a great smile (Crest Whitestrips) and always have my hair ready (wig) for photo shoots. I'm not perfect. Without these things I look like rapper T-Pain! We have so much in common... hehe.
Peter: (laughs) When did you start modeling and at what point did you decide to add on being a comedian?
Sunday: I was discovered by a modeling agency when I was 16 years old in high school. I started modeling in 2004. I'm now a represented plus-size model. I've always enjoyed watching live comedy. 2008 was when I started doing stand-up comedy at African events. Then I became hooked and could not wait to do it again.
Sunday Omony with International Somali artist K'naan.
Peter: 2010 seems to be going well for you with a very busy schedule… Like you have co-hosted the recently ended Afrikadey 2010 featuring K'naan!! How are you getting these numerous not-so-small gigs?
Sunday: It's my cute dimples! I'm kidding. 2010 has been a busy year for me. Being an active member in the community has helped me get some of these great opportunities. Afrikadey is a special event to me because when I was young the president of the Ugandan Association took me and other youth to volunteer at Afrikadey. That was my first volunteer experience. I'm honored to have co-hosted Afrikadey this year featuring K'naan and other very talented artists. It's an event that truly celebrates the beauty of art, diverse cultures and talented artists. The food is yummy too... hehe.
Peter: Has it been easy for you as an African Canadian comedian in Calgary?
Sunday: It's never easy. Everyday I'm hustlin'!
Peter: Give us a sense of what your stand ups are like… Hmnnn… Give us a special UGPulse joke…
Sunday: Comedy to me is about telling stories but delivering it in a humorous way. My stand-up routine is all about making fun of African stereotypes and my experience growing up in a strict African household surrounded by Canadian culture. My comedy relies heavily on my actions, facial expressions and accents. YouTube "Sunday Omony" and you'll get the full experience!
Sunday Omony with Mom, Dad and younger brother.
Peter: How has your family taken your career in modeling and being a comedian? We all know how aggressively ambitious some immigrant parents are… Only wanting their kids to be engineers and doctors…
Sunday: African parents that I know including mine ONLY want their kids to focus on education. Dear African parents please don't be disappointed if your child wants to do something in the arts, sports, fashion or comedy. Haha. My parents have not fully accepted that I'm doing modeling and comedy. My dad does not like the joke that I do about him "Go back to school!” Haha. I think that education is vital. I'm majoring in communications and culture at the University of Calgary. I encourage anyone pursuing modeling or acting to always have a back up plan.
Live at Yuk Yuk's
Peter: We have had a comedian on UGPulse in the past… one Arthur Simeon Omaset aka the Bishop also in Canada… Have you read the article? How big is being a comedian in Uganda’s Diaspora communities?
Sunday: I know the Bishop from watching his hilarious stand-up comedy. We're Facebook friends... just messaged him saying, "You're my interview question #12 lol". Yes, I did read the interview. The Bishop is very talented and I would love to work with him in the future.
Another funny brother is Ugandan-American Sir Sidney. He's been doing stand-up comedy for 11 years. We've talked and he's been really supportive towards me. I'm still learning and can use his professional advice... hehe.
Ugandan Comedian Sir Sidney
Ghanain Comedian Michael Blackson
I encourage more Africans, and women, to pursue stand-up comedy and share our stories. Comics such as Pagor Akot (Sexy Boy), Sir Sidney, The Bishop and Michael Blackson have all inspired me. Being a comedian in the Ugandan community here in Calgary is NOT a big deal at all... hehe. The lawyers and doctors are the big shots! Haha.
Peter: Of course when it comes to modeling we have had plenty of Ugandans on the Beauty Channel. One thing I have learnt when dealing with models is that many of them get gigs because of perfecting a certain look or having a certain asset – like Doreen Nabunya whose lips are her bread winner when it comes to modeling. Is there a particular asset or a particular look that makes you stand out as a model?
Sunday: I think that my smooth chocolate skin tone along with my smile makes me stand out as a model.
Peter: What should the Ugandan or African community be on the look out for next when it comes to you?
Sunday: The African community can see me featured this fall in FabAfrique Magazine, Zen Magazine and the Miss Acholi 2010 Magazine. I thank God and all the people that believe in me for their continued support. On August 28th I'll be at Global Fest 2010 helping the United Nations Association in Canada (Calgary) raise funds for their fundraiser. For more updates please check out my website at www.sundayomony.com and join my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/therealsunday
Peter: It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Please update us as your journey progresses.
Sunday: Thank you UGPulse for the interview. I value your support. I'm proud to be an African!
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First published: August 19, 2010
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