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Megan Piphus Peace is a financial analyst, comedic actress, musician, ventriloquist and puppeteer for the long running PBS network television series, Sesame Street. Piphus was born on October 29, 1992, in Illinois. Her mother is a speech pathologist for Cincinnati Public Schools, and her father is a Pastor.
Piphus became interested in ventriloquism at the age of ten, when she attended a puppetry conference with her Vacation Bible School. As an extremely shy child, she gravitated towards the idea of performing behind the scenes. Her mother supported her love for the art, and took Piphus to the library to rent VHS tapes on puppetry, and purchased a puppet from entertainer Edgar Bergen. In just two weeks, along with her puppet Charlie, Piphus gained enough skill and confidence to perform at her school devotional services and her church.
In 2008, when Piphus was 15, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she was featured in ‘Oprah’s Search for the World’s Smartest and Most Talented Kids.”After that performance, she began competing in the International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism (I-Fest), subsequently winning three gold medals in musical ventriloquism contests. When Piphus graduated from Princeton High School in 2010, her valedictorian speech featured her puppet George, and has since gone viral on YouTube. She was awarded the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship, the most selective full tuition scholarship given to Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
While at Vanderbilt, Piphus held the positions of Residential Adviser for first-year students, Secretary of the Black Student Alliance, Vice President of the National Black MBA Association, and Public Relations Chair for the National Pan-Hellenic Council as a representative for her Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was also a news reporter, producer and director for two Vanderbilt television productions, and a field reported for ESPNU. Piphus also competed in Season 8 of America’s Got Talent, and performed on Showtime at the Apollo, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2013. She was also crowned Miss Black Tennessee the same year.
Piphus graduated from Vanderbilt with honors in 2014, with a bachelors degree in economics, and minors in music and Spanish. She received a merit scholarship and immediately began the MS Finance program at the Owens School at Vanderbilt. She interned at the Charles Hawkins real estate firm.
In the summer of 2015, Piphus married Wesley Peace, her college sweetheart and medical student at Meharry Medical College at the, Wesley Peace at Light Of The World church in Nashville pastored by his father. The newly married couple relocated to San Antonio, Texas, where Dr. Peace started his residency. Mrs. Peace became a real estate agent with USAA for the next four years.
The couple had their first child in 2018, and moved back to Nashville to be closer to family. Peace worked for Elmington Capital Group, and in 2019, she collaborated with the University of Cincinnati and PBS to develop a series called $martPath, videos that used puppetry to teach children about finance. She won two Emmy awards for the project.
In 2017, Peace submitted an audition tape for Sesame Street, but was not invited to take part in a virtual workshop until March 2020. In September 2021, Peace was offered a position as a puppeteer, playing the role of six-year-old Gabrielle, making her the first black female to work for the children’s show. Peace and her husband, and two sons, Leo and Tyson, live in San, Antonio, Texas.
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Elizabeth Cook Jenkins, “The Vanderbilt Ventriloquist,” News.vanderbilt.edu, August 2, 2022, https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2022/08/02/the-vanderbilt-ventriloquist-alumna-megan-piphus-peace-finds-her-voice-as-the-first-black-female-puppeteer-on-sesame-street/; Kyra Alessandrini, “Meet Megan Piphus Peace, Sesame Street’s First Black Woman Puppeteer,” Girlsunited.essence.com, September 15, 2022, https://girlsunited.essence.com/article/meet-megan-piphus-peace/