NBC’s Today presented the first major interview with “Peloton Girl” Monica Ruiz today, bringing along actor Ryan Reynolds to meet her for the first time and explain the ads that have driven the culture into a gin-soaked frenzy.
Ruiz seemed at a loss to explain the public fascination with her original Peloton ad, which sparked an internet outcry because she looked like an abused wife. Ruiz said the eyes have it.
“My eyebrows looked worried I guess. People were like, ‘You look scared.’ I’m telling you, it was my face, that was the problem, and it just exploded it from there. She looks worried.”
The ad sparked so much interest and debate that Ruiz, whose name was not immediately known, became a cultural phenomenon. “It’s crazy to see my face everywhere this much and see everyone talking about it,” Ruiz said to Today host Hoda Kotb.
Reynolds saw opportunity. He immediately contacted her for a role in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin. In that bit, Ruiz plays a dazed version of her Peloton Girl, as if in recovery from the trauma brought on by her exercise demands.
Reynolds tweeted out the ad with the tag, “Exercise bike not included.”
“It started with a text to my creative partner,” Reynolds said. “He sent me the ad and I go, ‘Oh, wow, I see why there’s some backlash. Can we send her a year’s supply of gin?'” Reynolds said. “And that sort of evolved from there. We love acknowledging and playing off of the cultural landscape and we thought this was a grand opportunity to do something.”
Reynolds said the Aviation ad is purposely vague in its attack.
“We had this thought that we could do this ad without contributing to that divide, without vilifying anybody, just sort of commenting on this person, and the actress and the ad all at once. For us it was a no brainer,” he said.
What’s next for Peloton Girl? “I hope people can see me as an actress. I like to do movies and TV, and I’m not actuality the Peloton lady, (so) let me work other jobs,” she said.