Actor Robert Peterpaul invites celebrity guests to be on his podcast to help spread hope and positivity.
Posted in , Feb 17, 2022
During the coronavirus pandemic, actor and writer Robert Peterpaul, a child Broadway actor known for supporting roles in several movies, including 2016’s What Happened Last Night, noticed a growing focus on negativity in the news and on social media. He felt inspired to spread some kindness. Rob’s penchant for kindness started in his childhood when he saw what support from the artistic community did to help his family during a particularly tumultuous time.
Rob started the weekly podcast, which is part of the Broadway Podcast Network, in July 2021. Since then he has had more than 30 celebrity guests—actors, writers, directors, including Grammy-winning singer Meghan Trainor and actress Kiernan Shipka—on the show to share their experiences. The goal: “sprinkling positivity around like confetti.”
Rob sat down with Guideposts.org to talk about why he was inspired to start ‘The Art of Kindness’, his goals for the podcast, and what he’s learned along the way.
What inspired you to start ‘The Art of Kindness’ podcast?
From my work as an actor, I've seen firsthand how much love and empathy artists exude, but sadly the entertainment media outlets only seem to focus on salacious angles. I guess all of these factors were kind of baking in my brain because one night the idea for the podcast literally woke me up. I shot out of bed and immediately wrote everything down. Soon, I left my longtime editor gig for a celebrity magazine and got to work!
What does kindness mean to you?
Ah, turning the tables on me! To me, kindness is using your time on this earth to make your life or someone else's life better. I ask this question to every guest on my show, and no one has the same answer. When I look at all of their beautiful definitions, I see that while kindness is personal, at the end of the day, it always seems to boil down to love. Thank you for asking.
How did your experiences growing up make you gravitate to a life of kindness?
My younger brother Thomas was diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine. It was like my family and I were swirled away by a tornado hellbent on destroying life as we knew it. Throughout his illness, I witnessed so many acts of kindness, from the nurses who took care of Thomas to the family members that watched my siblings and I while my parents stayed at the hospital. Even Thomas' favorite celebrities like Steven Tyler and Sting, took the time to send Thomas letters or bring him backstage. Our entire community really came together to lift our family up during the most difficult time of our lives. They provided safe ground for us to land when the tornado passed.
Why do you think this topic is so important right now?
We're living in such paradoxical times; we’re more connected than ever and yet more disconnected. Kindness and love are what connects us, so I think talking about the topic is a good place to start bridging the gap. I chose to focus on the arts, because I believe storytelling is powerful and storytellers just might hold the key to saving us all.
Do you have any favorite moments from season 1?
Talking with the guests is always a highlight—and not just because I love to talk! It's really the unexpected moments that are engraved in my mind. For instance, I had WWE champion Kofi Kingston on —he is such a positive person —and during our chat his kids ran into the room and jumped on him. Since we're recording virtually, there's something special about talking to people from inside their homes.
Do you have a dream guest?
What do you hope listeners will get out of your podcast?
A smile. It sounds cheesy, but I hope that in these uncertain times, my podcast fills listeners with light. Though we have deep conversations, it's an easy listen filled with laughter and joy. I want every person to feel like they've dropped into a warm and fuzzy haven with friends, and by the end of the episode walk away knowing that everything's gonna be ‘AOK.’
How can people practice more kindness in their everyday lives?
Practical kindness tips are exactly what we strive to give on the show. I'm no expert, and am learning alongside my listeners with every guest, but I can tell you that it doesn't take much to live a kinder life. People tend to think of kindness as strolling around beaming like the sun every second of the day, but the truth is that kindness happens in little rays. It's the small acts like smiling at someone on the street or making coffee for your partner in the morning that make up the sun and lead to a big ripple effect. Ultimately, if you can be more mindful and always aim to lead with kindness, I think you're doing your part.