Just like millions of other children around the world, Megan Piphus Peace grew up watching Sesame Street. But for Megan, it wasn’t just a show that marked her childhood, it was way more than that.
For starters, this TV show played a crucial role in who Megan is today: a professional ventriloquist and puppeteer. Oh, but we almost forgot the most important part…Megan recently became the first black puppeteer in this same show!
Megan’s journey began when she attended a puppet conference when she was 10 years old. After returning from the conference, her interest and passion for this form of theater grew even more.
“My mom was really supportive,” she said. “She saw it as an opportunity for me to express myself.”
Megan’s first performance was at her elementary school where she had the opportunity to perform in front of her classmates. Then that performance turned into two, then three, and so on. At the age of 15, she was featured on one of The Oprah Winfrey Show!
“I realized the impact writing could have on audiences and that every age could learn something from the show,” she says.
While pursuing her economics major at Vanderbilt University, Megan never let her talents as a puppeteer and ventriloquist get rusty. In fact, when she was 18, she founded an initiative called Color My Dream which uses ventriloquism and puppetry to encourage young people to pursue their dreams.
Once she obtained her Bachelor’s degree, Megan continued her studies and obtained her Master’s degree in Finance in 2015.
After performing at several venues and shows, in March 2020, things came full circle: Megan received an email from Sesame Street Captain Matt Vogel asking if she’d like to learn Muppet-style puppetry through a workshop on line. Predictably, his answer was “yes!”
While she was working on learning new skills at the online workshop, the people behind the show were also working on a racial justice initiative called “Coming Together.” The producers were looking for someone to play the Muppet character named Gabrielle, and they thought Megan would be perfect to reprise that role.
“Megan was our pick from the start,” Vogel said.
And the rest is history – literally!
Megan recorded her first episode as Gabrielle in September 2021, becoming the first black puppeteer to work on this show. But at that time, she was not even aware that she was writing history!
“I would have cried like a baby on the 123 steps if they had warned me,” Megan said. “Sesame Street sets are like stepping into a fantasy. Being there is really something.
Now Megan can experience what she fantasized about as a little girl. Not only is she living her dream, but she is also inspiring others to pursue theirs!
Megan’s story is there to show us that with practice, patience and passion…anything is possible.
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