In 2021, Megan Piphus became the first Black woman puppeteer to appear on PBS’ beloved children’s show Sesame Street. The musical ventriloquist is the performer behind Gabrielle, a six-year-old Black girl Muppet that joined the adorable cast in 2020. According to her website, Piphus trained intensely for one year with the cast of Sesame Street to learn Muppet-style puppetry, before landing the role.
On Saturday, Piphus took to Instagram to reflect on the historic achievement while celebrating her two-year anniversary on the show.
“When I was just 10 years old, God told me that I would share His love through the world through puppetry & ventriloquism,” the star captioned a montage video of her incredible journey as a ventriloquist. “I’m still performing and have the WILD opportunity to play Gabrielle on Sesame Street. This is only the beginning of my story and my journey walking in my purpose,” she added.
At 10 years old, Piphus started teaching herself puppetry and ventriloquism by watching VHS tapes. She spent her teenage years travelling the nation singing and performing ventriloquism at schools. At 15, Piphus caught the attention of Oprah who invited her to perform on her talk show.
The star went on to attend Vanderbilt University, where she studied music, economics, and Spanish. She also became known as the “Vanderbilt Ventriloquist.” While in college, the talented performer appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and she also made it through the first round of America’s Got Talent in 2013. During her performance, Piphus wowed all four judges and received a resounding yes from the entire panel.
Piphus made it to the bootcamp round in Las Vegas, but sadly, she lost the competition shortly after her arrival. The Cincinnati native said Howard Stern gave her a few words of advice following the big loss.
“He told me, ‘I’ve been told “no” millions of times but no does not mean no. It’s an opportunity to get better,” Piphus told The Enquirer during an interview in 2017. Thankfully, when one door closes another opens. Piphus said that she gained opportunities to perform in South America, Europe and The Caribbean due to her America’s Got Talent appearance.
Congrats To Megan Piphus!
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