Sesame Street introduces first-ever Filipino muppet 'TJ'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — American television series "Sesame Street" introduced its first-ever Filipino boy muppet named "TJ" in a show on Sunday.

Talking about confidence, TJ shared that he's still learning how to speak Tagalog and he's confident to ask his lola for help if he doesn't know what words to say.

TJ has brown skin with emo hairstyle, and wears a yellow and brown stripped hoodie.

Bobby Pontillas, the Filipino American animator who created TJ, said the Filipino muppet was inspired by his children's lifelong friends, Max and Mateo.

"Thank you for the inspiration lads. I was blessed to collaborate with master puppeteer Louis Mitchell, the loveliest human on earth," he said on Instagram.

Pontillas also expressed his gratitude to Sesame Workshop's Director Rosemary Espina Palacios and voice talent Yinan Shentu "for bringing TJ into life."

Palacios, on the other hand, said she is "proud to help bring some Filipino representation to the neighborhood."

"Just in time for API Heritage Month to show the range in our diaspora," she added.

In 2019, Pontillas received an Oscar nomination for his short animated film “One Small Step.”

Filipinos Advancing Creative Education (FACE) said they are "absolutely thrilled" to see representation of Filipino community in a show like Sesame Street.