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Tunde Oyeneyin

On the bike, Tunde Oyeneyin is an unstoppable force of motivation, energy, and charisma — blasting music, dancing to the beat of her own drum, and daring to be herself while leading with empathy. But it’s what she does off the bike that has defined her lifestyle-focused influence and inspired thousands far beyond losing weight.

Oyeneyin was raised in Katy, Texas as a first-generation American. Her parents, Nigerian-born dreamers, defined success and hard work from an early age, but this fearless Peloton instructor wasn’t always proud of who she was or where she came from. “I definitely struggled with my confidence and my self-esteem growing up. … I was in this mindset where I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I cared, honestly. I never danced, and if you’ve ever taken one of my classes, you know I dance a lot on the bike now. Even when I went to places like a cousin’s party or a school event, people would notice me if I danced — and if they noticed I was there, I was fearful they would also notice my size.” She admits her health-focused journey began as a “scale-obsessed” weight-loss journey, but it has since transformed into an ever-evolving mission to find herself.

Photo Credit: Miguel Herrera

“It became less about losing weight and more about finding my focus. I found my confidence, I found my center, I found my ‘thing,’ I stepped into my power, and it’s just been the wildest experience.”

Another factor of Oyeneyin’s childhood battle with self-perception was the color of her skin. “I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, so I was Nigerian at home, but I was Black at school. As a kid, you just want to look like everybody else.” As life went on for Oyeneyin, she embraced the things that made her unapologetically herself, including her skin. “What I hated most about myself growing up was my dark skin, but now, what I love about myself most now — the reason I am beautiful — is my dark skin.”

After over a decade in the makeup industry, one spin class awakened Oyeneyin’s calling and — two auditions with Peloton later — she is one of the most popular instructors in the community and a strong voice for BIPOC women in fitness and positions of power.

She began hosting S.P.E.A.K. Instagram Live sessions right after the murder of George Floyd, in an effort to share others’ experiences with the world. She has hosted Venus Williams, Cynthia Erivo, Allison Felix, Common, and more. “I wanted people to hear that it wasn’t easy for them either. So often, I think people look at others — specifically black people — and say, ‘Well, they made it. What’s your excuse? Why can’t you? You’re making up excuses and this person did it.’“

Oyeneyin lives and shares a short-yet-invaluable concept: Surrender. “When conflict arises, I remind myself to surrender to it because there’s a lesson that needs to stem from this, a breakthrough is right around the corner, or it’s a course correction that’s trying to make its way through. I have to accept this and remind myself that it’s all happening in my favor.”

Tunde Oyeneyin’s 2022 memoir, Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, discusses the meaning of Surrender, Power, Empathy, Authenticity, and Knowledge as a foundation for success in all aspects of life.

To read our full interview with Tunde Oyeneyin, click the button below.

Photo Credit: Miguel Herrera
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