From Perreo To Power: Camila Ramón’s Trailblazing Path in Fitness & Music

When Camila Mariana Ramón gets on the Peloton bike or treadmill, you can expect two things: perreo bellako and vibes. The first, is exactly like it sounds: Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, Karol G, Don Omar, dembow the list goes on. The latter are the dance moves, fun styling, and motivational mantras Ramón gives on any given day during a class. And the mantras are far from the overused ones on Pinterest boards. We’re talking anything from “nadie me va cagar el dia” to “I’m nice pero no te pases.” 

Thanks to this combination of empowering words and music, the 32-year-old Argentinian has not only offered Latinas a place to feel good about their bodies but also given them the beats and rhythms they’re used to hearing in their spaces. It’s what sets her classes apart from others. “Mi clase es una fiesta, la música se me mete por las venas,” she says in her first promotional video for Peloton. 

Ramón’s presence in the fitness industry is a needed one. Before she became an inspiration for Latines all over, like many other Latinas, Ramón was battling her own dissatisfaction with her body. She’s been open about her struggles, with memories going as far back as high school when she fixated on her wider hips, often comparing herself to her much more slender and white dance colleagues. A study cited by the National Eating Disorders Association found that 56.1% of Latinas have concerns about their body shape. Her turning point was when she realized she was chastising herself even after completing a five-mile run on top of Miami’s Key Biscayne Bridge. Since then, she has decided to forget aesthetics and help people reconstruct their relationships, not just through exercise but through the power of music.

Unbeknownst to her, she would soon make a profound impact by seamlessly merging music and fitness. Since starting at Peloton as the first bilingual cycling and tread instructor, Ramón has brought many firsts to the global fitness company, introducing classes featuring reggaeton, merengue, and dembow. With tens of thousands of users per class, Ramón brings our music to a new reach, sparking curiosity even among non-Latinos with inquiries like, “What is dembow?” A triumph in its own right.

Since her start with Peloton in 2021, Ramón has gathered a large following. Aside from her nearly 204,000+ followers, she also has an avid fan base who call themselves the #MilaMafia—a group committed to amplifying the bilingual instructor’s work. Remezcla caught up with Ramón to talk about how she uses her platform to teach people about music and how she thinks the music industry can change for the better. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

When was that one moment or turning point in which you felt you were in the right space?

One of the big moments was my premiere ride at Peloton, where I played Tego Calderon as my opening song. Immediately after, I taught the class, [reading people saying], “I cannot believe she played Tego Calderon” and “she’s playing Perreo.” That’s when I felt like I was really welcomed and representing something important. In addition to that, there are messages that I receive from people in Canada, Kansas, France, and Germany that are like, ‘I feel so disconnected with my Latin culture, but when I go on, and I take your classes, and I hear my music, I feel extremely connected to my roots.’ 

So often, we see people advancing in their careers or making “big moves” on social media, but it’s rare we hear or see those introspective moments in which a person considers quitting or transitioning. Did you ever have a moment like that? 

When I started working in this space, I felt like I had to look a certain way to be respected. This happens in so many different industries. You feel like you have to be a certain kind of person or speak a certain kind of way in order to be respected and that your expertise is not enough. Once I was able to get past that, I became unstoppable, and now I feel really empowered.

I felt like I had to look a certain way in order to be respected.

Were there any mentors or other women who inspired or helped you get to where you are now?

Well, naturally, Robin (Arzon) and Jess King on Peloton. They’re strong, powerful Latinas in this space. In terms of music, as I dive deeper and become a figure educating others in music with my platform, Reggaeton Con La Gata, I love her; [I’m] a big fan. Natalie Ballesteros is a badass Latina in the entertainment industry. I’m in this interesting space between fitness, entertainment, and music. It all kind of bonds together into this beautiful atmosphere. So sometimes things are a little tricky, and you don’t know who to reach out to, ask about specific entertainment things and having a mentor, somebody who works in the entertainment space and who is female, who is in a position to provide feedback to help you out is really game-changing. 

What’s one of the biggest hardships you’ve faced as a woman — or even as a Latina — in the music industry?

In general, a lack of female representation, particularly Latina representation in positions of power, makes many things challenging when it comes to people recognizing your value and understanding what’s at stake. Also, the traditional machismo with men in the space when, for example, attending music-related events, women have to put up with a lot more than men have to put up with and are often put in uncomfortable situations when it should just be a regular interaction. Learning to navigate that shouldn’t be our responsibility, but unfortunately it is a part of the industry that I wish would change. 

What’s one of your favorite parts of where you are now in your journey?

I see thousands of people every day, whether at the moment I’m recording a class or later. People from all different demographics, people that potentially would never have listened to a Spanish-language song while they’re working out, but they always get one when they’re with me. I pride myself in bringing Latin music forward in that way. I take a moment to talk about an artist, how it makes me feel, where it takes me. We taught the first-ever Dembow ride at Peloton. People tell me, “I don’t even speak Spanish, but I take classes because I love the beats and the music,” or “I didn’t know who Feid was, and now I’m obsessed with Feid.” First off, where are you hiding under a rock? You don’t know who Feid was, but second off, that’s dope that you get to fall in love with a new artist via this platform. 

We’re seeing more and more women artists and music creatives speak out about how their work went unprotected or their trust was abused in the industry — what has been your perspective on this, if any? Is this something you’ve seen happen?

 I can speak to my personal experience, and it’s unrelated to the music industry. Still, it’s extremely important for us to have things set in place to protect ourselves, no matter how amazing a relationship might be in the beginning. I’ve been burnt in the past, and it’s by people who I would’ve never expected to have done something like that to me. And in the music industry, sometimes things are a little nonchalant, or in the entertainment industry, it comes off as being more flexible when, in reality, you have to protect your work and you have to protect your worth. Always.

You have to protect your work and you have to protect your worth.  

What can be done to make the music industry feel more safe and collective for women?  

Representation, mentorship, more women in positions of power, and more male allies. 

But it’s not just men; women can also affect each other’s journey or success. Can you explain why a crabs in a barrel mentality — “If I can’t have it, neither can you” — is harmful to women?

It’s a scarcity mindset, and it comes from there being limited people or women in positions of power, but the reality is that there’s space for everybody. I just wish that we as a community understood, more often than not, that your success is my success. Just because you’re doing something doesn’t mean anybody else will do it the same way. And that does not mean that it’s taking something away from me. I want to trust in my heart that when women are placed in positions of power and are well aware that there are limited women sitting at the table, their goal will be to continue increasing representation. We have to trust in our community that we are aware of these situations, and we want to make it a better space for everybody else. 

What do you hope to personally change about the music industry, especially for the next generation of women in this space?

I hope to achieve continued awareness of Latin music at a global scale, increasing visibility for artists. I want my space to be a platform to highlight artists, highlight art, highlight not only the big names, not just the Bad Bunnys and the Karol Gs, but also more underground artists that I love and I have been listening to that maybe other people need to get their ears on and hear. I hope that with the work that I’m doing, I contribute to a world where Latin music is seen as pop music by everybody in the world. It’s a known fact that Latin music is less niche than people think it is.