- The actress at the center of Peloton's viral holiday ad appeared on NBC's "Today" on Thursday to discuss her experience with the widely mocked commercial and the backlash it drew.
- Monica Ruiz, who played the woman who was gifted a Peloton bike in the ad, originally laid low amid the social-media backlash that followed her appearance in the commercial.
- "I hope people can remember that I'm not actually the Peloton lady and let me work other jobs," she said on "Today" in her first live interview on the topic.
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People are still talking about Peloton's holiday commercial that went viral in early December.
Monica Ruiz, the actress at the center of the commercial, appeared on NBC's "Today" on Thursday in her first on-air interview about the ad to discuss her unexpected viral fame.
"I hope people can remember that I'm not actually the Peloton lady and let me work other jobs," said Ruiz, who has two children.
The ad, which was released on YouTube on November 21 and is being shown on TV, follows a woman's yearlong selfie journey after her partner gave her a Peloton bike for the holidays. The ad was criticized as sexist and awkward.
Asked why she thought the ad garnered such a visceral reaction on social media, Ruiz responded, "I mean honestly, I think it was just my face," as a lot of the backlash focused on her facial expression in one scene, which some compared to a hostage video. People also criticized the idea that the male character in the ad, played by Sean Hunter, would get his wife an exercise bike as a surprise gift in the first place, viewing it as a not-so-subtle hint that she should work out more.
"My five seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face," Hunter told Psychology Today on December 5.
Ruiz initially stayed silent following the backlash of the ad, but she eventually revealed her identity on Saturday when she distributed a statement through her agency, LA Talent. Ruiz also appeared in a commercial for the actor Ryan Reynolds' gin label, Aviation American Gin, that poked fun at Peloton's holiday ad.
"I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with," Ruiz said. "Although I'm an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight and I'm terrible on social media. So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement."
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