Megan Piphus is the first Black female puppeteer to perform on Sesame Street.
Piphus, who is from Cincinnati, has played the role of Gabrielle, a 6-year old Black girl Muppet, on the show since 2021.
Piphus started puppetry and ventriloquism at the age of ten years old and taught herself puppetry and ventriloquism by watching VHS tapes. She spent her teenage years traveling the nation singing and performing ventriloquism at schools and churches. In 2010, she graduated valedictorian of her class at Princeton High School and became known as the “Valedictorian Ventriloquist.” She became the “Vanderbilt Ventriloquist” when she started college at Vanderbilt University, where she studied economics, music, and Spanish and graduated with honors.
While in college, she appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno as a ventriloquist and in June of 2013, she received yes’s from all four judges on America’s Got Talent. After graduation, Megan continued her education and received a Master of Science in Finance from Vanderbilt University.
After graduate school, she worked in real estate finance and development, underwriting and closing over $2.4 billion worth of commercial real estate. While working in real estate, she performed on television shows Tu Si Que Vales (Italy), Die Puppenstars (Germany), and Showtime at the Apollo with Steve Harvey, where she received a standing ovation from the Apollo Theater audience.
In 2019, in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati, she performed and wrote songs for a TV musical series teaching young children basic financial literacy. Megan won two Emmy awards for best composition and best children’s short from the series.
Since 2020, Megan has played the role of Gabrielle, a 6-year old Black girl Muppet, on Sesame Street. After training for a year to learn Muppet style puppetry with the cast of Sesame Street, Megan became the first Black female puppeteer to perform on Sesame Street in September of 2021. Megan loves spending time with her husband Dr. Wes Peace, her 2-year old son Leo, and 9-month old son Tyson.