Kathy Kim: Sweeping The Clouds Away

Like the 80 million other Americans who’ve watched since the show’s inception, I grew up wondering how to get to Sesame Street.

When I discovered that my friend and one-time Mister Rogers & Me researcher, Kathy Kim, was behind the show’s first Asian American Muppet. Ji-Young, I thought, “Of course!” 

And when she popped up in the studio wearing a Mister Rogers t-shirt, I thought, “Of course.”

Because this is who Kathy is.

Together with Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodSesame Street shaped my understanding of what it meant to be in the world. Letters and numbers, sure. Life lessons, too. Kindness. Compassion. Community.

Like Mister Rogers, Grover, Elmo, Snuffleupagus & Company represents the best in us: kindness, compassion, neighborliness.

As does Kathy, who I met in New York City back in the early aughts, and who helped Chris and I make our documentary back in 2008.

This week, Kathy shares the remarkable story of how she got from a one-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens, to jamming with Elmo as a member of the Best Friend Band.

Kathy takes us inside her Sesame audition, talks about meeting Big Bird, beating breast cancer, puppeteering with Tom Hanks, and developing her guitar-playing, skateboarding Muppet, and more.

And Kathy reminds us, as Fred Rogers before her, that “childhood memories are still there, somewhere inside us.”

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