Peloton Star Tunde Oyeneyin Talks New Book and Embracing Uncertainty
In 2015, Tunde Oyeneyin took her first indoor cycling class, propelling her to quit a successful career in beauty to become a cycling instructor herself. In just under two and a half years, Oyeneyin amassed a dedicated following on Peloton’s platform, over half a million Instagram followers and a number of brand partnerships, including with Nike and Revlon. She trains up to 20,000 live riders a day through her classes— the same amount of riders who tuned in during her Speak Up Ride in June 2020, which served as both a great workout and reminded people of their power and freedom to find their voices and speak up for change. In addition to being a Peloton instructor, Oyeneyin is a rising star as a motivational speaker as seen through her Instagram Live series S.P.E.A.K., which has featured A-lister guests like Common, Cynthis Erivo, Venus Williams and Allyson Felix.
On May 3, Oyeneyin will debut her memoir Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Before she takes the book across the country, Modern Luxury spoke with her about becoming a new author, the importance of soul care and her favorite songs for Peloton rides.
S.P.E.A.K is the name of your Instagram live series and book. Why are surrender, power, empathy, authenticity and knowledge essential for being your best self?
These 5 words (Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity, Knowledge) combine as elements in my life that always guide me to keep moving forward. When I surrender, it results in change that leads to growth. My power is connected to my purpose. Empathy is love. Authenticity is the intersection of truth and trust. Echoes of the past inform the future— that’s what fuels my knowledge.
When I am in a place of doubt, I speak. When conflict arises, I speak. When I don’t know how to face what’s next, I remember to speak. In the uncertain moments, ask yourself, “How do I speak?” It’s in speaking where you find your voice— it moves you from where you are to where you want to be.
Your book debuts so soon! How does it feel that the world will have their hands on it so soon?
Speak is a memoir manifesto. It’s my story and the guide to which I used to find my voice. I share moments of joy, grief, and self-doubt, all of which has led to this moment. My hope is that people see themselves within my stories, those stories meet them where they’re at and the stories move them through whatever it is they’re going through. Everything is happening right now as it’s supposed to be happening. I believe that things are happening for me and not to me. Things are happening for me and not to me.
Speak will serve as a vessel of inspiration for its readers, but it’s undoubtedly a personal story. Was writing the book an emotional process?
When you sit down to write a book, it requires you to pull from memories that you’ve pushed away for so long. Writing this book was healing in many ways because it required me to revisit some of those past emotions, and in revisiting those moments, I was able to acknowledge my growth and how far I’ve come.
You were a makeup artist for 16 years and have spoken about how you hated it, but you often post and discuss makeup and beauty tips. Was it difficult to develop a healthy personal relationship with makeup after switching careers?
Makeup artistry was my first love. I love gifting people with confidence. I love the ability makeup has to make someone feel good about themselves and ultimately uplift their day. After many years, I found myself in a place where it no longer brought me the same type of joy. I knew in order to still love it, I needed to leave it. Now I’m able to gift people with confidence by virtue of a bike and hopefully this book.
Early in your book, you say the beauty of uncertainty is infinite possibility. Can you tell us more about the importance of embracing not knowing what the future holds?
The beauty of not knowing is that you don’t know, thus anything becomes a possibility. Rather than looking for a road that’s trailblazing and wide open, be open to taking an alternate route.
You advocate for “soul care,” as opposed to “self care.” Why is it more effective to approach prioritizing one’s wellness with that frame of mind?
We look at self-care as this luxurious thing that only some people can access, that only some people can enjoy, whereas soul care is performing acts for the good of the soul. It becomes a right, not a privilege.
Why do you think fitness platforms make for effective spaces to promote change and advocate for social justice?
There’s a way that the body connects to receiving information when it’s under stress, such as when you’re in a workout. I don’t take for granted the platform I have, the opportunity I have to show up as myself, and to speak about human rights. Human rights aren’t political, they’re human.
What have been your favorite songs to play lately during a Peloton ride?
“Be Alive” by Beyonce and“Jerusalema” by Master KG. Both songs are such a vibe. There is so much resilience and hurt and joy embodied in the feel of the songs. In a workout it drives you to dig deep and bring forward your absolute best.
You are taking Speak around the country. What are you looking forward to about these live events?
That they’re in-person!! I've been welcomed into peoples’ homes, their intimate spaces and I can’t believe it’s finally time to share intimate moments like that in-person with friends, family, and the Peloton members that supported me every step of the way.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Tunde Oyeneyin will be at The Regent Theater on May 8.