Kelly Frances

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Kelly Frances McKenna, stage name "Kelly Frances" is a Canadian media personality living in Seoul, South Korea. She is an animal rights activist, author,[Published works 1] advocate for ethical entertainment rights, TV and voice actress.[1] She is a graduate of Denis Morris Catholic High School, and Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.


Prior to entering the acting profession, Frances freelanced as a columnist for The Korea Times, a national newspaper in South Korea covering healthcare, education, culture and tourism, and a freelance author [Published works 1] for the Korean government.[2][3][4]

In 2008, Frances decided to try voice acting "after being told she had a uniform voice".[1] She is quoted as saying that success did not come easily in the beginning, stating that she "left her first audition in tears after failing miserably" and being laughed at by other voice actors. In an interview with national daily, The Korea Times, dhe described "going home, where she turned on the TV and "The Simpsons" came on. While watching, she started to practice until she could successfully make one voice. She began to work soon after, discovering a natural aptitude."[1]

Frances' most notable works include Cannes' Film festival nominees (2018) "Please Help me" VR series, and "White Rabbit" (short), in which she starred through ADR dubbing.[5][6][7]

Televised works include EBSⓔ TV Survival English[8] (actor, writer), SBS Star King: Teacher, Mentor to Korean Kim Na-young (television personality), CJ E&M: Step Up English[9], and Full Sentence English.[10] In 2016-17 he co-hosted on EBSe's "English news" with TV teacher Kim Seung-baek[11].

Nautilus Hyosung which uses Frances' image and voice

Frances was officially recognized by Chaebol Hyosung for voicing numerous international ATMS and providing the visual acting and footage for 2 new models (N America) for the visually and hearing impaired; Models: NH8OOSE, MX4000W, MX5000SE, over 30,000 locations (Launched 2013).[12]

Gameography (Voice-actress)

Lineage, Soldier impact audio, by NC SOFT

Unveiled: The Supernatural, by Maverick Games

언베일드: 더 수퍼내츄럴 (post-production), horror

Chromatic Souls-Comm2Us 2016

Chono-saga, by SMILEGATE 2016

W.A.R, by Netmarble (2017) in production

Divine Souls, GamePrix 2016

Devilian, Bluehole, Nexon, 2016

LEGO BETA, by Nexon (in production), 2016

King's Raid, VESPA, 2015-2017


Production Ventures, Korean media

Dexter Studios: WHITE RABBIT VR (English dub) post-production, 2018 launch, selected for Cannes 2018, Directed by Chuck Chae 4DX VR film[13][14][15]

Dexter Studios[16]Template:Better source, CGV, Webtoons:[17][18] "PLEASE HELP ME" (English Narration) - voice over, Cannes film festival nominee 2018

Dear Emily: Feature film, English dub (Main character, Emily), 2012, Directed by Seungbin Baek voice over.

"Stay" by Savina and Dronez: Music Video, actress, featured actress, lip sync

"Trace 1", album, by Bad Cupid, guest vocalist (rapping), for "COMPLEX" [19]

"100 Epiphanies" Beta tester and English subtitle copy-editor, testimony author

"Take Point" director Byung-woo Kim, assistant casting advisory, POWERHOUSE

Activism in Korea

In English-based activism, Frances is an author and the primary English speaking spokesperson for the plight of the Asiatic Black Bear, or "moon bear", a threatened and vulnerable species that is farmed for medicinal purposes in some countries. On her blog, Frances opened a petition that has garnered over 13,000 signatures, calling for the cessation of bear bile farming, a practice she dubbed as "rejected by the Korean people to the tune of 94%"[20]

In 2007, Frances began English-based work in animal welfare with network Moon as a general Manager, working closely with founder Gina Walker and her husband John, who authored 2 charitable children's books supportive of the cause apart from his career as a [21]chairman of the Macquarie group.

In 2008, Frances branched off and established a grass roots level NGO known as Bear Necessity Korea that led to her being a popular guest in English interviews around Asia and Europe. She referred to her activism as a "sensitive matter in Korea". KBS world host Matt Kelley invited her on his web radio program, and joked that the program's topic was a issue that opposed current Korean law, something technically illegal. The pair decided to be frank about opposition to the practice with Matt concluding [22]"the practice of bear bile farming is disturbing, inhumane and not worthy of any semantic messing around" on air. Frances was urged to call herself "an author".

In 2012, Frances joined a team of international experts led by David Garshelis which succeeded in establishing a IUCN resolution to end bear bile farming worldwide. The resolution was considered a victory, with only China opting out.[23] Despite the win, criticism mounted in 2018 when S Korea used the moon bear as a mascot for the winter olympics amid reports of continued bear farming. (please advice if it is worth time to insert reliable sources this time as last edit was deleted). Several medalled athletes made public statements condemning the use of the mascot and overall treatment of animals in Korea, which was met with criticism.

Frances garnered praise from veterans such as Jill Robinson MBE, Dr med vet hc, Hon LLD Founder & CEO Animals Asia Foundation ..." [24]

Throughout her campaigning Frances appeared on Indie radio in Ireland,[25] and TBSefm, and in all of Korea's primary English media. Her first video interview as the founder of an NGO was on KBS World,[26] where she discussed her reasons for committing to a Korean cultural issue as an expat. Among them were:[26] how "The bear plays an important role in Korea's founding myth. As the legend goes, the nation was founded by the union of a bear-woman and the son of the Lord of Heaven, Dangun Wanggeom. Sadly, less than 20 Asiatic Black Bears roam South Korea's wild areas today. Yet over one thousand of these animals, also known as Moon Bears, are kept in terribly inhumane conditions, due to the practice of bear bile farming."

Frances became a key reference point and protestant force for English speaking media, though voicing frustration regarding the lack of media coverage about the issue in Korea, stating ""We found the Korean media to be unreceptive to the issue," she said. "It seemed to me that the issue of bear bile farming ‘was simply not big news’ in [South] Korea: it is not headline-worthy, lacks ‘sex appeal’, and it isn’t exciting enough to brandish [on] our front pages."[27]

Frances stated that she hoped the media would continue to provide coverage to the issue.[27][28]

As part of her methodology, Frances urges tourists and locals to avoid zoos and theme parks, noting sub-par conditions and the risk of sending a dangerous message about the dignity of animals.[29] She organised 2 research trips to document the facilities at Korea's popular Bear Tree Park, stating ""Our objective is the documentation of bear care, facility maintenance, and to observe any changes in the quality of bear care."

The 2010 G20 Summit served as a platform for campaigning. A local movement, dubbed, 'The Bear Truth" was quick to capitalise on the scene with a giant bear and bear toys for sale in the streets of Seoul's Itaewon district. As the world leaders arrived, tension built around hot issues in the peninsula. "Our national image is being harmed and we are trying to resolve the situation," Choi Jong-won, an official at the environment ministry, tells me. "But the bears are private property and it is difficult to abolish the practice overnight."


Later in 2010, Frances joined Seoul pub Craftworks in their effort to launch an India Pale Ale in honour of the plight of the moonbear. Owner Dan Vroon reached out to Frances as a consultant. The beverage, which features the image of a moon bear and includes merchandise, has financially supported the cause. Vroon is vocal about his support; "We'll do everything we can to help out," (he) Vroon said.,[31] making him one of few entrepreneurs to openly oppose bear bile farming, "We want to change people's attitudes towards the bears here."[32] The trade continues to phase out in East Asia, with Vietnam, China, Laos, and Bangladesh being noted a especially problematic. The ideal goal for many activists was to establish a sanctuary. This proposal was rejected by Chiel's on behalf of Damsung in 2008 when proposed as as a CSR venture.

Cultural challenges

In 2010, Frances echoed the sentiments of philanthropic event planning entities such as The Seoul International Women’s Association (SIWA) in expressing frustrations regarding the challenges of funding philanthropic ventures in Korea. She suggested that Korean culture doesn't seem naturally proactive in the area of charitable fundraising, stating "she has not seen many Korean NGOs organizing their own fundraising activities.

``I think Koreans don’t generally have a fundraising culture. It’s not part of their culture... Most Korean NGOs, when I ask them if they would like to join an event, (they) almost have never done their own fundraiser before. They usually have a hard time organizing one, so it’s not too common,’’ she said.

``One place in Apgujeong wanted to charge me 6 million won (exorbitantly) for a non profit venture. It (profit) is always an event planner’s challenge in fundraising, to have performers, prizes, promote the event and get the right figures to make sure you don’t end up with just $50,’’.

National Daily newspaper "The Korea Times" stated, "The expatriate community is seen as setting an example for the Koreans when it comes to charity fundraising." Frances noted most Koreans do not seem receptive to the 'idea' of fundraising.

``In my experience, Korea has generally been the least receptive to fundraising. It doesn’t seem to make sense to them. They prefer giving to their churches’’.[4]

"Fast forward to 2016, and many of my favorite projects transpired from online fundraising. The use of online tools seems to have made a glorious impact on how we assist those in crisis now".

"Regular people can raise money for a good idea in a casual way. That's one of the positive aspects of a very SMS immersed time, and Korea is into it - Crowdfunding is absolutely being embraced by Koreans."[33]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Korea Herald. "Finding the joy in work". 
  2. Frances, Kelly. "Midnight Madness Redefined". Korea tourist Organisation. 
  3. Frances, Kelly (2013-05-17). "When Healthcare becomes a vacation". Korea Times. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Garcia, Cathy (2010-09-17). "Why are Koreans not receptive to fundraising?". 
  5. "덱스터 스튜디오-KT VR콘텐츠 공급 협력 계약 체결". 
  6. "Dexter Vr goes to Cannes". 
  7. "follow the white rabbit". 
  8. "EBS survival ENGLISH…fighting!" (in en-US). VOICE >. 2011-05-01. 
  9. "BasicPlayer ["]. 
  10. "EBSe". Educational Broadcasting System. 
  11. Kelly Frances (2016-08-30), 김성백 선생님 하고 켈 리 브랜시스 Kelly Frances,, retrieved 2018-04-10 
  12. Korea Herald (June 26, 2014). "Finding joy in work". Thekoreaherald. 
  13. "VR 영화, 어떻게 만들어지고 있을까" (in ko). 
  14. 김계연 (2018-04-13). "VR영화 '화이트 래빗'·'살려주세요' 칸영화제 상영" (in ko-KR). 연합뉴스. 
  15. "덱스터 스튜디오-KT VR콘텐츠 공급 협력 계약 체결" (in ko). 
  16. Kim, Yong-hwa (March 3, 2018). "Creator, Dexter Studios". 
  17. "Dexter.digitalhuman&vr.lab" (in en). 
  18. "CGV-Dexter Studios Made a Contract for VR Contents" (in en). 
  19. Lee, Joon Ooo. "Korean Music, released". Busan Newspaper. 
  20. "Teddy Bear Museum's clever, interactive anti-bear farming poster". The Vegan 8 Korean. 
  21. "John Walker AM | Advance |" (in en-US). 
  22. "Kelly Frances McKenna on Saving Korea's Moon Bears" (in En). 
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  24. robinson. "jill robinson linkedin professional recommendations section". 
  25. "Bear Bile Farming in Korea". 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Touch Base in Seoul". 
  27. 27.0 27.1 luong (November 26, 2010). "Unbearable". thanhniennews. 
  28. Luong, Dien (October 28, 2012). "Korean TV to spotlight Vietnam's bear bile bugbear". thanhniennews. 
  29. "Korea Herald". 
  30. "S Korea activists use G20 to highlight bear farms". BBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2016. ""Our national image is being harmed and we are trying to resolve the situation," Choi Jong-won, an official at the environment ministry, tells me. "But the bears are private property and it is difficult to abolish the practice overnight." 
  31. "(Yonhap Feature) Movement to protect moon bears gets much-needed boost - YONHAP NEWS". 
  32. "Raising beers to better the lives of Korean bears-프린트화면". 
  33. Frances. "So you need to make something out of nothing?". Wordpress. 
Published works