The actress appeared on Thursday’s Today show to talk about the controversial ad for the pricey exercise bike — which was criticized for appearing sexist — and then subsequently being hired by Reynolds to star in a commercial, called “Escape,” for his Aviation Gin brand. In the commercial, she toasts to “new beginnings,” presumably after ditching the husband who gifted her the bike.
Reynolds came out during Ruiz’s interview to meet her for the first time.
At the top of the interview, Ruiz told Hoda Kotb with a laugh, “It was my fault” for the Peloton ad controversy, pointing to her eyebrows expressing a “worried” look and a “scared” expression on her face that made viewers think she looked miserable in marriage.
Peloton actress weighs in on ad controversy: 'Honestly, I think it was my face' https://t.co/0gazTT21Yu— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 12, 2019
A real-life mom of two, Ruiz said she was speaking out because, "I just wanted to let everyone know I'm fine. I'm OK. I'm not in a rehab for mental health anywhere." (The actor who played her husband in the ad, Sean Hunter, spoke out previously saying he is upset “my image is being associated with sexism.”)
Ruiz also said she hopes she’s not branded the “Peloton lady” for the rest of her career, having previously appeared in other commercials as well as movies and TV shows. Kotb said NBC News had to practically “beg” her to do the interview.
Ruiz went on to say she didn’t want to come off as “mean” when she made the subsequent ad toasting “new beginnings” for Reynold’s gin company because she said she had “an amazing experience” working with the Peloton team and didn’t want to bash the brand.
The highlight of the interview, however, came when Reynolds — who coincidentally was on the Today show as well on Thursday — came out to meet Ruiz. The pair didn’t meet when she made the Aviation ad, just days after the Peloton controversy blew up, so they came face to face for the first time.
Reynolds said that when he first heard of the Peloton backlash — the brand, which issued a statement saying the ad was “misinterpreted,” took a financial hit as a result of the bad press — he suggested to his team that they send Ruiz “a year supply of gin” with no strings attached. Then the ad for his booze company “evolved from there.”
“Everything is divisive these days,” Reynolds said of the stir caused by the Peloton ad. “One camp here, one camp here. But we had this thought that we could do this ad without contributing to that divide [or] vilifying anybody — just sort of commenting on this person and the actress in the ad all at once.”
The Deadpool actor continued, “So for [Aviation] it seemed like a no-brainer and it was a lot of fun... And it was a rush. We did this thing in 36 hours.” (In an interview with the New York Times earlier this week, Reynolds said he hired Ruiz because he knows, as a movie star, that backlash over “being part of something that’s not well-received” can be “alienating.”)
At the conclusion of the interview, Ruiz summed up the whole thing, as she sat next to the Reynolds on the Today show, by saying, "I feel like I'm in an alternate universe right now.”
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