( ENSPIRE Man Code 101 ) Actor Robert Peterpaul Spreads Positivity Through His Platforms to Inspire Others
ENSPIRE Contributor: Naomi Stamps
Robert Peterpaul is an actor, writer, and producer who believes in helping others and promoting good-hearted acts. He’s a New Jersey Native and started acting at just nine years old. He was cast in the Broadway musical, “Seussical,” and has actively worked in the TV/Film and theatre genre. He graduated from The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and Marist College. This actor has starred in movies such as “What Happened Last Night” and “New Dogs, Old Tricks.” Robert’s ongoing efforts earned him the title of “Connecticut’s Best Actor” by Broadway World.
Besides this, Robert Peterpaul has written for major publications like The Huffington Post, Writer’s Weekly, and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” He’s had the pleasure of interviewing various people in the entertainment industry, like Emmy-winner Sterling K. Brown. This multi-talented actor also writes fictional novels and screenplays, which he’s currently pitching. While this actor is dedicated to his work, he’s very passionate about giving back to the community.
On September 11th at 9:11 PM, Robert’s brother, Thomas, died from cancer at age 11. This inspired the Peterpaul family to create the nonprofit “The Thomas Peterpaul Foundation” in his honor. This organization raises awareness of pediatric cancer, offers support to patients and their families, and raises funds for research. To help advance TPF’s efforts, Robert partnered with Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, to urge Congress to approve CAR T Cell Therapy. Besides TPF, this actor also works for the nonprofit “Women In Entertainment” and founded his own production company called “Robert PeterPaul Productions.” It’s inspiring how this actor moves his career while paying it forward.
Robert also has a podcast called “The Art of Kindness,” which focuses on highlighting celebrities using their platforms to make a difference. The encouraging conversations besides the kindness tips Robert shares in each episode inspire listeners. Some guests from Season 1 included Olympian Laurie Hernandez, WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston, and Meghan Trainor. “The Art of Kindness” was recently picked up by Broadway Podcast Network and ranks in the top 25% of most popular podcasts across all genres globally. It’s currently gearing up for its second season.
ENSPIRE spoke with Robert Peterpaul about his podcast, writing, and favorite guests.
You discovered your love for the arts at a young age. Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue this route?
My parents like to joke that I came out singing and dancing! I can’t pinpoint an exact moment of inspiration because it’s a fire that’s constantly burned within me. It certainly helped to have a family that supported my creativity early on, from my mom reading to us at night and taking me to auditions in the city to my dad buying me cameras so I could make short movies with my friends.
I also owe so much to my wonderful grandparents, my Nanny in particular, who always treated me to Broadway shows growing up. We’d settle into the dark theatre house, and as soon as the orchestra would play I’d be transported. It’s a feeling I still get in the theatre today. I’m so grateful to my family for exposing me to the arts.
You’re an actor, writer, and podcast host. Which one of these roles is your favorite and why?
That’s a tough one! I love them all for different reasons. If I have to choose, I’d choose acting. That’s always been my number one because I’m a storyteller at heart and love trying on various perspectives. On the other hand, podcasting is so appealing to me because it combines my passion for acting and writing. I get to write episode intros and questions, and then host the show in a fun way with amazing guests.
How did you get opportunities to write for well-known publications like The Huffington Post? Can you share tips for aspiring writers?
Everyone’s journey is subjective, so please do what works for you, but my best tip for writers is simply to write! Especially upon starting out. Don’t wait for someone to hire you to call yourself a writer. The best thing about being a writer is that you have all the magic you need in your fingertips! Simply start creating.
It’s a double-edged sword today, when it’s easier than ever to get a platform, and yet so oversaturated that it can be tougher to be seen. That said, create an online presence as a writer: start a blog, make a profile on Medium, etc. There are countless options! Develop your voice and style, but write as if you’re writing for your dream publication. Then, when you begin to apply for various outlets or send out pitches, you’ll have something to show!
In addition to writing for well-known publications, you also write fictional novels and screenplays. What genre do these works fall into? Are there particular themes or topics you explore often?
This harks back to my advice which is to just write! On the side, I’ve written two novels and several screenplays that I’ve begun to pitch around. I admire fiction writers so much for their ability to sit down and craft a story from start to finish. It’s not easy! After I graduated college, I wrote a Young Adult novel loosely based on my experience working in entertainment news.
My most recent screenplay follows a young couple who thinks they inadvertently cause a global pandemic after trying their hand at witchcraft. Reflecting on it now, I think the majority of my stories are rooted in kindness, and almost always, have a little bit of magic. Thank you for asking!
What inspired you to work for the nonprofit “Women In Entertainment” and create “Robert Peterpaul Productions?”
Women in Entertainment is an amazing organization that aims to empower the next generation of female creatives. I initially received the opportunity to curate their social media pages, and was blown away by the work that founders Renee Rossi and Gretchen McCourt were doing. I’m a huge champion of women’s voices and so over the years, have worn as many hats for WIE as I possibly can. I’m familiar with the nonprofit world as my family started one in honor of my brother Thomas to assist children with cancer (The Thomas Peterpaul Foundation).
The inception of Robert Peterpaul Productions was to help fellow actors and creatives! I was taking these one-off workshops in the city that aimed to connect actors with casting directors or agents in the field. They were expensive and a lot of the time I walked out feeling a little less inspired then when I went in. I formed RPP to produce networking events for actors that didn’t feel like networking events, but more like a safe space to perform and connect with fellow actors! As I took on social media clients in recent years, I shifted the company into the branding and marketing space.
How did you get the idea to feature celebrities doing kind acts for your “The Art of Kindness” podcast? Why is this important to you?
The idea for my podcast literally woke me up in the middle of the night! As an entertainment reporter, I’ve always found it disheartening that outlets seem to value negative headlines and salacious spins over human interest. The media seemed to reach a baneful head in 2020, with a daily flood of bad news. As an actor, I know firsthand how empathetic artists are and how much good they put into the world, but unfortunately that’s not always what gets reported on.
Which is why we need more magazines like Enspire! Everything must have been subconsciously baking in my brain because the fully formed concept for The Art of Kindness podcast literally shot me out of bed in the middle of the night! Shortly after, I quit my longtime editing job and got to work.
Who has been your all-time favorite guest on your podcast?
They’ve all been my favorite! I’m fortunate to have gotten to speak with such wonderful guests. Our season 2 just premiered with JoAnna Gracia Swisher of Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias and she was lovely. What I can tell you wholeheartedly is that my all-time dream guest is Dolly Parton!
What are some ways people can incorporate kindness into their everyday life?
We aim to give practical kindness tips that make it easy for people to spread joy on The Art of Kindness podcast. In fact, every episode ends with a kindness tip of the week! One that’s come up quite a bit with our celebrity guests is to make an effort to look at people and smile when you pass them on the street or in the supermarket.
In this whirling world where everyone is constantly multitasking, actually taking the time to stop and acknowledge a fellow human with a smile or a quick hello, is the simplest way to spread kindness. Hopefully your smile will inspire them to then smile at the next person and so on. At its best, kindness is a chain reaction. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. I love Enspire’s mission to grow the voice of positive media!
Since our world is filled with hate and negativity, it’s inspiring to see this actor reminding others to be kind and give back. Robert also shows us we can always make time to brighten someone’s day. Something simple as checking on someone or offering to help with a task can have a major impact on someone. When we’re generous towards others, it causes a ripple effect.
Related Article: Juliet Ramos Uses Podcast to Promote Mental Health