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Tunde Oyeneyin is a successful fitness instructor on the world’s largest cycling platform, Peloton. She is an ambassador for one of the biggest brands in the world, an inspiration to her thousands of fans, and the founder of SPEAK, a series that spotlights those who’ve thrived under adversity. However, she wasn’t always the superstar she is today, and much of her purpose in life derives from her own resilience under adversity. Throughout her empowering memoir, Tunde walks us through the milestones in her life and the lessons she’s learned about body image, personal and professional growth, deep loss, hope, and the ever-expanding possibility for love. TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. In chapter one, Tunde shares her struggles with body image as a child, teenager, and into her early adulthood. Why do you think it was important for Tunde to begin her book with these anecdotes? Have you struggled with body image at any point in your life?
2. In chapter two, Tunde is offered a job with a makeup company she worked for in the past. Although she knows and likes the company, they don’t carry foundation in her skin tone. The very same week, she receives a call from a different company, one she’s always admired but never worked for, whose makeup caters to all skin tones. Have you ever given up something comfortable for an unknown path that is truer to yourself? How did you decide that it was time to make a change?
3. For those who choose to wear makeup, it is not only a mode of creative expression but also an act of liberation. Tunde learned this while she was a makeup artist. Can any lessons be learned from this story? If you had preconceived notions about makeup, did this anecdote change your outlook?
4. With the tragic and sudden death of her brother, Tunde faces the first great loss of her life. However, she realizes that her parents’ pain in losing a child is greater than her own, and she puts their needs first. Tunde says, “These kinds of moments are the ones where we learn the most about ourselves, and I think that, for many of us, they are when we are most able to grow” (page 49). Talk about Tunde’s strength in this moment and the way she showed inordinate empathy when she, too, was grieving. Have you ever had a time in your life when you needed to power through grief and trauma to be strong for someone else? How did you handle it?
5. Tunde’s “blue-light” moment was the catalyst for her career as Peloton instructor. While that feeling only lasted a moment, it inspired a shift in her life and career, and moved her to embark on a path that would change the course of her life. Have you had a blue-light moment? Has there been a pivotal event in your life that inspired you to embrace the unknown and find your path?
6. Were you surprised to learn Tunde did not get a job at Peloton the first time she auditioned? Did this challenge any ideas you had about her success?
7. In chapter five, Tunde expresses doubts about her career in makeup even after she has succeeded and achieved so much. Have you ever felt like you haven’t accomplished enough even when you’ve reached your goals?
8. What was different about the second time Tunde auditioned for Peloton? What lessons did she learn between auditions, and how did she use that knowledge to her advantage?
9. On page 99, Tunde says, “It’s always easier once you get to the destination to forget about the hills and winding roads you had to take to get there.” What is Tunde telling us about her relationship with success? How can you apply this to your own struggles and achievements?
10. Chapter eight is largely about relationships. Tunde tells us about her relationship with Brian, who takes advantage of her kindness for his own gain. Later, Tunde witnesses her friend Tiffany in a physically abusive relationship and can’t understand why Tiffany doesn’t leave. On page 132 she says, “We hear what we need to hear when we need to hear it.” How does this relate to relationships, both yours and the ones in Speak
11. After the murder of George Floyd, Tunde channels her anger and frustration into her now-famous “Speak Up” ride. She admits that she is nervous during this ride, but she uses that vulnerability and turns it into authenticity. Tunde is able to connect with thousands of people and impart a message of hope and growth. How is this moment a turning point for Tunde? How do we see her mindset change after this ride?
12. Tunde experiences a lot of fear and anxiety before she cuts off all her hair, but after the chop, she feels freer, happier, and more confident than she ever did before. What does this tell us about our safety blankets? Have you ever made a change to your physical appearance that led to a change in your mental and emotional state?
13. If you met Tunde Oyeneyin through your experience with Peloton, you’ve come to learn a lot about her journey and how she arrived where she is today. How does this book enrich your understanding of Tunde’s story? What aspects of Tunde’s story could you most relate to? ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB
In chapter seven, Tunde is invited to interview a celebrity. She is nervous because she’s never conducted an interview in front of so many people before. Tunde approaches the interview the same way she approaches a ride: start slow, build up the intensity, and end with a cool down. She uses her everyday skill set and applies it to an unknown. Divide into groups and make a list of skills or life events that can be used to inform new situations. When everyone has finished, come back together to discuss. This may inspire others to apply their own skills in ways they never expected.
In chapter eight, Tunde meets with a group of young women who come from troubled homes to share her story and inspire them. Go around the room and do the exercise that Tunde does with the women, where they each share one thing they love about themselves on the inside and one thing they love about themselves on the outside. How does this make everyone feel? Why was it an important exercise for Tunde to do with the young women?
There are many people who have helped and hindered Tunde throughout her life. Divide into groups to make a list of all the characters in Tunde’s story and discuss the impact they had on her life. When you’re done, return to the main group and share your thoughts. Is there a person in Tunde’s life that stands out? Is there one you’d like to know more about?