“Honestly, I think it was just my face,” she said, laughing. “I think it was my fault. My eyebrows — I looked, like, worried, I guess. People were like, you look scared!”
Called “The Gift That Gives Back,” the luxury stationary bike company’s infamous commercial debuted last month. It didn’t attract much attention until last week, when Twitter took hold of it. Commenters there didn’t see the inspiring fitness journey Peloton had apparently envisioned for Ruiz’s character, whose husband surprises her with one of the pricey bikes on Christmas morning.
They saw a woman traumatized.
In Twitter’s imagining, Ruiz was recast in a kind of millennial Rumpelstiltskin tale, forced by an overbearing husband to spin her days away. There were headlines like “The Peloton Ad Woman Is Absolutely Not OK” and “Someone please help the woman from Peloton’s awful new ad.” Ruiz’s expression was likened to a hostage and to the character who delivers the titular line in the horror film “Get Out.”
“I’m telling you, my face, that was the problem and it just went and exploded from there,” Ruiz told Kotb on Thursday. “She looks worried, and I’m like oh no, my eyebrows, they moved! They moved.”
Then the California-based actress surfaced over the weekend in a new ad for Aviation Gin, a company owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The commercial plays off the Peloton debacle, with a still traumatized-looking Ruiz downing martinis with girlfriends, one of whom tells her, “You’re safe here.” Ruiz makes a toast: “To new beginnings.” Then she finishes her drink — and her friend’s.
On “Today,” Ruiz said she was initially hesitant about doing the Aviation ad.
“I had such an amazing experience when I shot the Peloton commercial, and I was like, ‘I don’t want them to think I’m going to make fun of them or say anything mean,’ ” she told Kotb. “But they assured me that it was an idea that was just taking air out of the situation.”
She had to be convinced to do the “Today” interview, too, saying Thursday that her original plan was to wait for the chaos to blow over. Except it didn’t blow over. Peloton’s stock has dropped about 17 percent since the beginning of December. Meanwhile, Ruiz and her “husband” catapulted to Internet fame, with TMZ tracking Ruiz down as she walked her dog and Heavy digging up interviews she gave more than 10 years ago.
Eventually, Ruiz said, “I was like okay, I’ll just let everyone know I’m fine, I’m okay. I’m not in, like, a rehab for mental health anywhere.”
She has taken the situation in stride, laughing through the “Today” show’s recap of the saga. But she added, “I hope that people can see me as an actress, because that’s what I am. … I hope people can remember that I’m not actually the Peloton lady.”