In her first live interview since a controversial Peloton holiday ad went viral last week, the ad's star Monica Ruiz said she initially didn't want to appear in an ad for actor Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin because she didn't want to appear like she was making fun of the original Peloton ad.
Ruiz appeared on the Today Show Wednesday morning and talked about her surprise at the ad's backlash. She also explained how she ended up in the widely applauded gin ad.
Peloton early last month rolled out a holiday ad that implores viewers to "give the gift of Peloton," which had onlookers complaining about what they saw as undertones of sexism and classism in the ad. Though the ad first ran on Nov. 4, according to iSpot.tv, the commercial more recently became a hot topic on Twitter. According to iSpot, the spot had run more than 8,800 times as of Wednesday.
Amid the controversy, the actress re-appeared in an ad Friday for Aviation Gin, which appeared to mock the original ad from the brand.
When Aviation Gin reached out to Ruiz's agent, she said she initially didn't want to do the ad, she said.
"I was like, 'Oh, I don't think so. I think it's going to look like I'm making fun of it,'" she said. "I had just an amazing experience when I shot the Peloton commercial. I was like, 'I don't want them to think that I'm going to make fun of them or say anything mean.' But they assured me it was an idea that was just taking air out of the situation."
After Today brought out Ryan Reynolds to meet Ruiz in person for the first time, the actor said when he first saw the ad he suggested sending her a year's supply of gin. He said the idea evolved from there.
"We love acknowledging and playing with the cultural landscape. We thought this was a great opportunity to do something that ... you see how everything is sort of divisive these days," Reynolds said. "We had this thought that we could do this ad without contributing to that divide, without really vilifying anybody."
Ruiz also discussed her surprise at the sudden amount of criticism weeks after the ad first ran.
"It didn't really blow over as quickly as I thought it would," she said.
She joked that the criticism came down to her face. "It was my face, that was the problem," she said. "Oh no, my eyebrows, they moved!"
Ruiz said she hopes to continue doing her job acting in commercials and movies.
"I hope people can remember that I'm not actually the Peloton lady and let me work other jobs," she said.