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Inside the Peloverse



peloton stock goes up as home workouts increase

The internet of Peloton is vast, but easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. God knows I white-knuckled alone through many a sprint before discovering the Facebook group that first sucked me in.

Like thousands of other riders, I’d bought my $1900 bike at the height of the pandemic, with hopes of arresting my quarantine slide into sloth. But in the bike, I also found an unexpected ticket into a weird virtual universe—one where optimistic, attractive, aspirational people punctuate their every sentence with exclamation points and build elaborate, hand-lettered shrines to Peloton in the basements and rec rooms of their sun-drenched suburban houses.

By my count, there are at least 300 Facebook groups devoted to Peloton, some boasting hundreds of thousands of members. Peloton can also claim a 165,000-person subreddit, at least one unofficial podcast, a news aggregator, an endurance training forum and a small battalion of TikTok fan accounts and Etsy merch stores. Hundreds of Pinterest users have dedicated boards to the design and decoration of Peloton “home studios,” for those with the surplus square footage to give the bike its own room. Meanwhile, an Instagram account with 3,700 followers solicits photos of the toned derrieres of (mostly female) riders, often clad in Peloton-branded Spandex, which start at $68.

All cult fitness brands have online followings, but Peloton’s is more than a fandom: It’s a core part of the company’s corporate identity.

All cult fitness brands have online followings, but Peloton’s is more than a fandom: It’s a core part of the company’s corporate identity, a lifeline for thousands of riders, and, increasingly, the secret sauce that separates Peloton from an exploding field of internet-connected competitors. “This brand has really become embedded into individual’s lifestyles,” said Dr. Jenna Jacobson, an assistant professor of retail management at Ryerson University, who has a study forthcoming on the social communities around fitness brands. “Peloton sales skyrocketed during the pandemic, in part because of consumers’ commitment to fitness, yes, but also because of this sense of community and connectivity it provides to users who are sitting home alone, unable to connect.”

“Connection” has always ranked among Peloton’s core buzzwords, dating back to the 2013 trade show where founder and CEO John Foley debuted the bike under the only-slightly-maudlin tagline “you’ll never ride alone.” Two years later, in 2015, the company launched an official Facebook group, which now boasts more than 405,000 members.

But don’t bother with the official, Peloton-run pages, which riders regularly pan for their unprovoked, internecine dramas and fixation on the personal lives of Peloton instructors. The real action takes place away from the high-gloss glow of the official groups, where users have splintered into a rapidly expanding universe of volunteer-run—and often fantastically niche—affinity pages. On Facebook, in particular, there are groups for Peloton clergy, Peloton horse girls, and Peloton nurse anesthetists. Peloton Boujee Bs—short for “bourgeois bitches”—serves as an internet home for those highly relatable Peloton-owning women who’d also like to solicit luxury car recommendations and debate the merits of real vs. lab-grown diamonds. The tone of these groups is generally upbeat-aspirational, much like Peloton itself: reports of personal records (called PRs) smashed and challenge rides vanquished, punctuated with mirror selfies, #pelopups, and screenshots from the Peloton app.

Peloton sales skyrocketed because of consumers’ commitment to fitness, but also because of the connectivity it provides to users sitting home alone.

On Reddit, meanwhile, a slightly more self-serious crowd—“we seek to embody the very spirit of sport,” intones its description—trades training tips, troubleshoots common hardware problems, and leaks a steady stream of Peloton news and gossip, to the apparent aggravation of the mothership. On Instagram, fan accounts with names like @pelotonmemes_ superimpose caps-locked jokes about difficult classes over stills from Schitt’s Creek and Bridgerton. On Etsy—which counts only tenuously as an online community, but whose offerings are so wonderfully on-the-nose—at least 50 shops sell T-shirts screened with some variation of the phrase “Peloton / Wine / Repeat,” while a store in Texas sells honest-to-goodness Cody Rigsby prayer candles.

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Mega-instructors like Rigsby—who, with more than half a million Instagram followers, has become an influencer in his own right—also cameo regularly in the internet of Peloton, popping up for AMAs in the Facebook groups or sending repeat students DMs and high-fives. For Meghan Valvano, the head moderator of the 82,000-member Peloton Women’s Page, that type of surprisingly personal instructor engagement was her initiation into this world. She’s since met fellow riders from her Facebook group for dinner or drinks, and now counts her four fellow “mods” among her best friends. They talk “constantly, every day”—but have never met in person.

It all sounds like a lot, I’ll admit. And it is. I now belong to several dozen Peloton fan groups, and my desire to screenshot the cringey posts of America’s white, wealthy cul-de-sac class moved me to join at least half of them. But as in any online space, the fandom researcher and theorist Casey Fiesler told me, like-minded people are bound to form deep, enduring connections that have little to do with the topic that lured them online to begin with. Such is the internet of Peloton, where conversations can start with the playlist of Alex Touissant’s last hip hop ride and then veer into engrossingly intimate subjects: miscarriages and menopause, cancer diagnoses and bullied kids, anxiety disorders, unemployment, and racial justice.

Conversations can start with the playlist of Alex Touissant’s last hip hop ride and then veer into miscarriages, cancer diagnoses, and bullied kids.

Riders have met on the Peloton pages and gotten married. Others have spilled secrets to far-flung, Lycra-clad strangers that they’d never disclose in person. Far from the Pelowinos and Boujee Bs, there are also Facebook groups devoted to riders with alcoholism, eating disorders, and special needs children. “The Peloton community has been a savior for me, honestly,” said 36-year-old Kimberly Abild, who described the pain of her husband’s recent infidelity, and her father’s severe illness, in a post to Peloton’s official, corporate-run group last December. The post promptly racked up more than 6,000 likes; Peloton even sent flowers. “Everyone’s so positive, so encouraging—at first it was really overwhelming, but in a great way,” Abild said. “I’ve honestly never experienced anything like this.”

Peloton is less an exercise bike company than it is a lifestyle.

Ezra ShawGetty Images

As the stunt with the flowers might suggest, Peloton is hustling to harness the bonds between its online fans for its own benefit. Many of them are, after all, essentially providing the brand free marketing and customer service at a time when thousands of new riders face infuriating waits just to receive their equipment. Last April, for instance, Peloton launched leaderboard hashtags—an in-platform way for users to work out with off-platform groups—in response to the rapid growth of grassroots communities on social media. Peloton also regularly sends cards and gifts to riders like Abild, said Jayvee Nava, the company’s vice president of community, and encourages its instructors to embrace their online fans, even helping some of its marquee stars manage their social pages.

Here, too, the ardor of the fandom can be intense, acknowledged Matty Maggiacomo, an ebullient former news anchor who teaches running and strength classes on the Peloton platform and serves as the company’s director of instructor engagement. “It’s fascinating what people want to tell you,” said Maggiacomo, especially since the start of the pandemic. Riders have sent him long, heartfelt Instagram messages about their relationships and their children. Like many fitness instructors, Maggiacomo misses the time when he used to stay after class to talk with his regulars. “In lieu of that person-to-person connection,” he said, “this is the substitute.”

But the internet of Peloton does face challenges, much like Peloton itself. If all these heartfelt messages and culty memes are truly stand-ins for in-person interaction, then they’ll fade as normal life resumes again. If the alternative is true, however, and Peloton continues growing—it added almost 1 million paying members in the last year—then both the company and its fandom will have to figure out how to scale their peculiar brand of online intimacy, which by definition shouldn’t scale.

Already, Peloton fan groups brim with comment threads strategizing how to earn instructor shout-outs in increasingly crowded classes. Many groups added new moderators in the past year to keep up with ballooning member counts and to screen out trolls and histrionics. In r/pelotoncycle, which added 130,000 members since the start of the pandemic and now sees more than five million hits each month, four moderators spend hours each day on the subreddit, in addition to the time they spend on the bike itself and at their day jobs.

Still, said moderator Koko Odya, the community keeps them in it—and will long after the pandemic ends. Odya doesn’t even own a Peloton bike; she takes classes on a TV or tablet rigged to her Keiser M3, a popular DIY alternative. “It’s become bigger than becoming better athletes,” she said. “Last year, more than any other, people have really needed that extra connection.” And whether you’re a horse girl or an anesthetist, the internet of Peloton can provide it.

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35 Unforgettable Royal Wedding Scandals, Shockers, and Bizarre Moments



35 Unforgettable Royal Wedding Scandals, Shockers, and Bizarre Moments

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco married her bodyguard.

Grace Kelly’s daughter, Princess Stéphanie, tied the knot with Daniel Ducruet, who had previously been assigned as her bodyguard. When the couple wed, they already had two children together. At the time, The Associated Press described Ducruet as “a former pet shop salesman and fishmonger known to have a hot temper,” and noted that Stéphanie’s father, Rainier III, opposed the love connection. The wedding took place on July 1, 1995, at Monaco Town Hall. However, little more than a year later, the marriage ended in divorce when, per the AP, Ducruet “was caught by paparazzi in a poolside romp with a Belgian stripper.”

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All of Queen Rania of Jordan’s Best Fashion Moments



the king and queen of jordan will visit the basilica of st francis of assisi

Franco OrigliaGetty Images

Since her husband, Abdullah II, became the King of Jordan in 1999, Queen Rania of Jordan has been hard at work. The Queen is best known for her advocacy in public health and education, as well as her supremely trendy sense of style. Throughout the years, Rania has proven that her sartorial tastes are impeccable. She has a penchant for monochromatic looks and pops of color, but also knows her way around a neutral palette. Read on for 63 of her best royal style moments here.

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April 17, 2019

Rania stepped out in a casual tank and pants combo during a tour of Jordan, and brightened it up with a coral jacket.

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March 29, 2019

For a visit to the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Queen wore a collared navy midi dress, a trendy Louis Vuitton handbag, and added dainty silver earrings.

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March 29, 2019

While visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, Queen Rania wore this bold monochrome look, which features a pleated midi dress and a tailored leather jacket.

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October 14, 2018

The Queen stunned in a belted pinstripe midi dress for the state opening of Jordan’s Parliament.

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June 25, 2018

On a visit to the White House with her husband, Rania wore a flowy blush pantsuit with a matching purse and pumps.

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May 22, 2018

Rania wore a gorgeous grey-blue pleated turtleneck dress to her daughter Princess Salma’s graduation.

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March 21, 2018

Rania chose a tailored grey blazer, turtleneck, and crisp white pants for a visit to the Netherlands. Her suede heels and elaborate woven handbag were perfect complements to her neutral outfit.

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March 20, 2018

Queen Rania showed us that she isn’t afraid of a bold pop of color. Here, she wore a bright blue swing coat with statement buttons and a white neck scarf over her grey dress.

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November 11, 2017

For this look, Rania paired a simple white top with a brightly patterned pencil skirt and coral handbag.

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August 11, 2017

For the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy, the Queen chose a bright pink quilted princess coat and matching heels. She accessorized with a black purse and silver jewelry.

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May 21, 2017

Rania glowed at the Fashion for Relief event at Cannes, wearing a delicate white dress with lace details and simple jewelry. She posed for a photo with Princess Beatrice and Sarah, Duchess of York at the event.

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December 3, 2016

The Queen wore an elegant A-line gown with pink silk details to a gala in Germany.

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November 11, 2016

Rania chose a simple black blazer and pencil skirt, drawing attention to her intricate turtleneck, for the state opening of Parliament in Amman, Jordan.

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September 11, 2016

Queen Rania stepped out in a beautiful crimson and blue gown for the Celebrity Fight Night gala.

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June 2, 2016

Rania arrived at the Great Arab Revolt centennial wearing a deep teal dress with gold embroidery, turquoise drop earrings, a cream quilted clutch, and black heels.

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May 25, 2016

For Jordan’s 70th Independence Day, Rania chose a belted maroon top with an extravagant red and white detailed skirt, maroon heels and silver accessories.

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May 18, 2016

Rania wore a soft pink swing coat adorned with a floral detail and black kitten heels alongside the Queen of Belgium during a visit to Brussels.

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May 2, 2016

The Queen turned heads on the red carpet in a feathered gown dotted with delicate silver gems by Valentino at the Manus x Machina Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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January 8, 2016

During a visit to London, Rania wore a hot pink pencil dress with a complementary belted coat and black pointed-toe heels.

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November 20, 2015

While in Spain, the Queen wore a black and white striped accordion skirt, a white blouse, and a mahogany wide belt.

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November 19, 2015

Here, Rania paired a trendy leather pencil skirt with a patterned blouse for a visit to the Prado Media Lab cultural center in Madrid, Spain.

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November 19, 2015

Queen Rania walked with Queen Letizia of Spain on the airport tarmac as she arrives in Madrid, Spain for a royal visit. Rania’s chic ensemble proves that even after a long plane ride, the royal is glowing. This look features a simple sky blue dress, a red and white woven wrap coat, and glittery heels.

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September 25, 2015

For the UN Foundation’s Gender Equality Discussion, Rania stepped out in an all-white ensemble, but it’s far from dull. The detail in her top, her snakeskin clutch, and her reflective pointed-toe heels make this a style to remember.

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August 26, 2015

Rania and her daughter walked the red carpet for the Medef Summer University Conference. The Queen wore a simple A-line dress and accented it with a Louis Vuitton bag and strappy heels.

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May 19, 2014

Here Queen Rania wore a black and white patterned top, a black midi skirt with a sheer overlay, and pumps.

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March 12, 2013

Rania and Camilla Parker Bowles pose for a photo during Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal tour in Jordan. Rania chose a bright blue and white knee-length dress adorned with a flower, and pearl drop earrings for the occasion.

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May 18, 2012

Queen Rania chose a classic flattering dress for a dinner at Buckingham Palace. The celebration was held in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, her 60th anniversary on the throne.

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May 18, 2012

Rania wore a white ruffled top with gold accents, paired with a fiery red pencil skirt, and her signature black pumps for an event at Windsor Castle in England. The royal was in town to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

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April 2, 2012

The Queen was glowing on a visit to the Royal Palace in Italy, wearing an embroidered double-breasted trench coat, peep-toe heels, and a sleek black purse.

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June 19, 2010

Rania stepped out in a purple gown—the color of royalty—paired with a tiara and sash for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling’s royal wedding in Stockholm, Sweden.

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How Your Favorite Models Got Discovered



How Your Favorite Models Got Discovered

Karlie Kloss

Long before walking the biggest shows at fashion week, Kloss walked a charity fashion show in her Missouri hometown. Then, at the age of 15, she made her New York Fashion Week debut on Calvin Klein’s runway.

“I was discovered at 13 in a mall in St. Louis. I had never been on an airplane, actually.” she told CBS in 2015.

Since, Kloss has walked every major runway in New York, London, Milan, and Paris—along with starring in campaigns for brands like Oscar de la Renta, Versace, and Diane von Furstenberg. In 2015, she partnered with Flatiron School and to create a scholarship program, Kode with Klossy, which supports young girls who are interested in computer science to become leaders in tech.

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