Tunde Oyeneyin is a force. Delving into her journey reveals a narrative steeped in resilience and determination. She’s more than the lively instructor leading peloton classes; she serves as a source of inspiration for those navigating their own challenges, whether related to fitness, grief, or finding purpose.
Tunde’s early struggles with weight during her teenage years planted the seeds for her journey of self-image. However, her story doesn’t conclude there. Undergoing multiple transformations, she has evolved into the influential figure she is today. Rooted in Texan-Nigerian heritage, her mission extends beyond fitness; it’s about establishing and nurturing spaces that empower others to overcome obstacles, find inspiration, and reclaim their power.
For Tunde, “metamorphosis” is synonymous with her journey. Having experienced the loss of several family members, she navigated profound grief, digging deep to rediscover herself. These experiences propelled her towards becoming the best version of herself. Part of her mission is to enable others to utilize her lived experiences as a guiding force in their own evolution toward their best selves.
When asked to define herself, Tunde’s response resonates powerfully: “I am a force, and that’s the essence that defines me.” This declaration captures her unwavering drive and commitment to inspiring and uplifting others, urging them to embrace their potential. While a younger Tunde may have aspired to be the next Oprah, the Tunde of today is unapologetically becoming the first “Tunde”.
How has the dual influence of your Texas upbringing and Nigerian heritage shaped your career as a “confidence builder,” as you’ve coined it? Texans and Nigerians both have a reputation for being tough and strong willed, but also, kind and charismatic. I wouldn’t trade my roots for anything. I am who I am because of who I am. The world I grew up in has shaped the way I move in the world and the change I seek to create.
What were your aspirations at the age of 12? Furthermore, if you could become precisely who and what you desire, who would that be? Maybe I wanted to be a singer at that age? Perhaps it was the idea of being on stage… commanding a room, connecting with strangers. As I got older, you’d hear me say that I wanted to be the next Oprah… Now I say I want to be the first Tunde. I want to meet people where they’re at, as I am, and foster experiences that move them in extraordinary capacities.
Did you ever encounter periods in your life when your motivation waned in this journey, and if so, how did you successfully rekindle that motivation and get back on track? Almost every day. This is a forever journey… There’s no magic potion that makes this easy. Every day when I wake up, I continue to choose myself. I choose strength, I choose confidence, I choose feeling powerful in my own body.
The first time you auditioned for Peloton you didn’t make the cut. How did you find the motivation and determination to give it another try? That part was easy. I had a vision a year or so before my first audition that made everything clear to me. I knew I would be cycling and leading on a platform like Peloton’s. It was just a matter of when. In 2016, I was a Makeup Artist & Educator living in Los Angeles at the time. I had visited New York on a business trip and while I was there I took my first cycling class, which would ultimately change the trajectory of my life. The lights dimmed, the music flowed, and a vision or what I refer to as a divine download of information took over me. I call it my blue light vision. I saw and felt a blue energy that moved throughout my entire body. In an instant, I knew I would be cycling for the rest of my life and that I would one day be teaching cycling classes on a platform able to impact the lives of millions (without ever having heard of Peloton).So then, fast forward to 2018 after not getting the job the first time around. I held onto the belief that an opportunity (Peloton or not) was on its way. I trusted myself and that what I believed was going to come to fruition, it was just a matter of when. I stayed ready and fortunately, a year later, Peloton called me back and I got the job.
You have faced numerous losses in your life. What have these experiences taught you about yourself, your self-belief, your faith in God, and your perspective on the world? I lost my little brother when he was only 19 years old. 3 years after that I lost my dad. 3 years after that I lost my best friend… my mom. I would do anything to get any one of them back, and still I’ve realized that in losing them, I’ve stepped into the greatest version of myself. I’ve had to find myself through loss. I’ve had to question my purpose and my character. I’ve had to look my “why” in the face and question everything I believed to be true in this world. As someone in the public eye I know that people who have dealt with loss or tragedy, look to me and see themselves through my story. Owning that responsibility is one of the many reasons why I feel empowered to live out my purpose every single day – that purpose being to lead.
What are some of the philosophies you use as your guide? Something I often say is “Your mind is your strongest muscle.” This belief holds a lot of power. Once you train your mind to realize that it can do hard things, then your world opens up. You expand your horizons and become capable of so much more. Training your mind is not an easy feat, by any means. However, your mind will give up before your body ever does, no matter how physically exhausting something might feel, so if you continue to tell yourself that you are strong enough, your mind is strong enough, and whatever you put in today shows up as strength tomorrow, you’ll be on track to becoming the greatest version of yourself.
Another philosophy I use as a guide is “The beauty of uncertainty is infinite possibility.” When you don’t know what’s next, anything can be next. There’s freedom in that. When you’re tunnel vision on how things are supposed to happen in your life, you’ll often be disappointed if they don’t play out accordingly. Rather than fearing uncertainty, open yourself up to what can come from it. There’s infinite possibility.
What’s a human trait that you would magnify into a super power? Empathy and humanity…. The world would be a better place if we all lead each interaction with love and kindness.
Outside of the S.P.E.A.K method, what mental exercises or practices do you find helpful to maintain your motivation and mental well-being? The practice of saying “no” to things is something I’ve grown to credit to the maintenance of my mental well-being. Everything can’t be a ‘yes’ – so by saying ‘no’ I open up space for the necessary ‘yesses.I also love to listen to music, use the Peloton app to meditate, or even sit in silence and do absolutely nothing.
Speak up! As individuals achieve a certain level of success, they often encounter various challenges. How do you envision utilizing your platform to address “uncomfortable” topics, including mental health, social and political issues, and concerns within the beauty and health industry? It’s a line between preserving my own mental health (stepping into mixed opinions and ridicule that comes along with speaking up) and advocating for social and economic justice. Folks often look to people they admire with larger platforms to share their views and opinions on matters. I think there’s a responsibility that comes with holding a larger microphone. That said, it takes restraint to not step up or speak up solely for the sake of optics. I utilize the platform that I’ve been given to spread love and acceptance for all.”
I’ve heard that you have a deep passion for music. Could you share your favorite guilty pleasure song, the one that gets you dancing as if nobody’s watching? Definitely no guilt… Automatic by The Pointer Sisters always takes me to my happy place.
What is your mission/purpose? Invite all those within my orbit to tap into a more connected version of self… physically, mentally and spiritually. I want to reach people at a place that they can evolve from and help play a role in molding who they dare to evolve into. I will continue to keep my curtain lowered for people to see me and find versions of themselves in me – allowing them to use my past and lived experiences, as a guiding force in their own journeys.
Photographer/Creative Producer: Francesca Andre @francesca_andre_
Photographer’s assistant: Shatimah Brathwaite @capturedbyshatimah Talent: Tunde Oyeneyin @tune2tunde
Wardrobe Stylist: Ana Paula Cervera @anapaula.cervera Makeup artist: Hailey Sipes @haileysipesmua
Hair Stylist: Issy Sánchez @saaaannchezz_ Location: NY Beauty Suites @nybeautysuites