Just like millions of other kids around the globe, Megan Piphus Peace grew up watching Sesame Street. But for Megan, it isn’t just a show that marked her childhood – it is way more than that.
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For starters, this television program played a crucial part 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 female puppeteer in this very same show!
Megan’s journey began when she attended a puppetry conference at the age of 10. After coming back home from the conference, her interest and passion in this form of theatre 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 took place at her elementary school where she got the opportunity to perform in front of her fellow students. Then, that one performance turned into two, then three, and so on. By the time she was 15, she was featured on one of The Oprah Winfrey Show!
“I realized what an impact the writing could have on the audience, and that every age could learn something from the show,” she says.
While pursuing her economics major at Vanderbilt University, Megan never let her puppeteering and ventriloquist skills go rusty. Actually, 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 got her Bachelor’s, Megan continued her education and obtained her Master’s degree in Finance in 2015.
After performing in several venues and shows, in March 2020 everything came full circle: Megan received an email from Sesame Street’s captain, Matt Vogel, asking if she’d like to learn Muppet-style puppetry through an online workshop. As one would expect, her answer was “yes!”
While she was working on learning new skills at the online workshop, 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 take over this role.
“Megan was our choice from the beginning,” Vogel said.
And the rest is history – literally!
Megan recorded her first episode as Gabrielle in September 2021, becoming the first Black female puppeteer to work on this show. But at that time, she wasn’t even aware that she was making history!
“I would have cried like a baby on the 123 steps if they had told me beforehand,” said Megan. “The sets of Sesame Street are like walking into a fantasy. To be there is really something.”
Now, Megan gets to live what she used to fantasize about as a little girl. She is not only living her dream, but also inspiring others to chase after theirs!
Megan’s story is here to show us that with practice, patience, and passion… anything is possible.
Share this story to congratulate Megan on her achievement and to help inspire others to pursue their own dreams.
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