A Nonstop Ride
Alum Turns Cycling Into Business, Social Media Success
“Badly behaved and crazy fit:” That was Kym Perfetto’s tagline when she began building her social media presence in 2009. Drinking, partying, accumulating tattoos and singing in a band were all part of the professional cyclist’s appeal. “It was like, you can be fit and still do all these things,” she says.
To her 180,000 followers on YouTube and Instagram, Perfetto ’02 is known as Kym NonStop, a professional cycling dynamo sponsored by Under Armour and Red Bull who was an early instructor for the now-ubiquitous cycling studio SoulCycle and traipsed across the world on the reality show “The Amazing Race.” Her videos—also sometimes sponsored—teach followers how to get in a quick workout without going to the gym, whip up protein shakes, fix their bikes and more.
As a student at Maryland, Perfetto thought that riding her bicycle around campus and pedaling on the Eppley Recreation Center’s stationary bike to manage stress would be the limit of her foray into cycling. When friends suggested she try racing, she’d scoff, citing previous misadventures with athleticism. At her first bike race, she discovered, “Hey, I’m actually good at this,” she says.
Perfetto headed to New York City after finishing her theatre degree, ready to audition for roles. She made ends meet as a bike messenger. Eventually, she began posting fitness videos to YouTube. “Theater gave me the in-front-of-the-camera skills to start producing and creating all this content myself,” she says.
Perfetto has been monetizing her theater chops for decades, says her father, Pat Perfetto, retired director of the university’s Conferences & Visitor Services. He recalls a time when the then-teenager—at the time perfecting her impersonating skills—was hired to play Britney Spears for a 16th birthday party in Mexico. “She did a whole lot of things independently, but that was one time I stepped in … and said, ‘You’re not going without me.’”
In her badly behaved days, Perfetto created a series called “Drunk Yoga,” in which she would attempt warrior pose after a few cocktails. “On my days off, I like to cross-train. And I also like to drink. Sometimes I do both at the same time,” reads the caption for the first installment.
After 10 years, Perfetto is undergoing a rebranding. “I’m a lot older and I’m not as badly behaved,” she says. She encourages followers to push themselves by “challenging anything that scares you—whether it be emotional or physical, showing up every day and working on that and facing it and overcoming it. That’s really the place I’m working from now.”
The key to Perfetto’s social media success? Authenticity. “It’s like networking or making friends,” she says. “You provide something you want to provide, and there are people who will show up for it and want to be there for it.”