Embrace your talents
Dream big. That's the message from a young ventriloquist puppeteer who will be performing in Bermuda next month.
Megan Piphus, a Vanderbilt University senior, is living proof that dreaming big can pay off. While in high school she and her puppets were featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show: The World's Smartest and Most Talented Kids.
Last year, she was crowned Miss Black Tennessee USA and shortly afterward appeared on the Jay Leno Show.
“I am a big dreamer and I have always been goal oriented and career person,” she told The Royal Gazette. “I started ventriloquism and puppetry at a young age.
“I definitely didn't imagine that I could go on Oprah, but I was prepared for when I did have an opportunity.
“I want to instil in children that you have a talent, and a unique personality, that no one else has. Go out and develop it and incorporate it into your goals.”
She was introduced to ventriloquism and puppetry at her church when she was in the sixth grade.
Her church was starting a puppet ministry, and she and other members of the church went to a Christian puppetry conference.
There was also a ventriloquist performing at the conference, and she was immediately drawn to ventriloquism.
When she came home, she went to the library and checked out every book she could find on ventriloquism.
After a week she showed her friends and later began performing at her school, and then other schools and churches.
Her big break came when she was featured on the Oprah show.
“I made a video and submitted it to her contest,” said Miss Piphus, now 21. “There were hundreds of videos submitted.
“When it aired she used one of my videos. It was really exciting. My classmates from high school saw it also.”
Miss Piphus gave the valedictorian address at her high school, along with her puppet, George. The speech was uploaded to YouTube and became a hit.
Miss Piphus has founded an organisation, Color My Dream, to help children recognise and embrace their talents, as she did when she was a child learning ventriloquism.
“Children should be empowered to envision their own bright future,” she said.
Color My Dream reaches children regardless of their race, creed, or gender and uses a variety of educational and motivational tools to teach the importance of goal setting and dreaming big.
She is now majoring in economics, and minoring in Spanish and music. She said it is sometimes a challenge balancing her ventriloquism career with her school work.
“I know school always has to come first,” she said.
After university she wants to work in the entertainment industry.
She is being brought to Bermuda by Union Square Productions, a new entertainment company organised by Penny Saltus. She first saw Miss Piphus' winning talent entry on Oprah.
“I organised Union Square Productions to bring more child and family oriented entertainment to Bermuda,” said Ms Saltus. “I don't think there is very much at all being offered for children and teens under 18 years old.
“I thought Megan would be good as I haven't seen a ventriloquist puppeteer in Bermuda before.”
Miss Piphus and her colourful puppet friends will perform with local artists Mr Magic and In Motion Dancers on April 5 at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall.
Show times will be 12pm, 2.30pm, 5pm and 7.30pm. All tickets are $30 and are on sale at Bermuda Tix; www.bdatix.bm — special corporate and group rates available. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 337-6494.
For more information about Miss Piphus, see www.megan-piphus.com