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The other milk spokesperson is squeaky clean, too


You have to look long and hard -- past the silky blond hair, the pink polka-dotted jacket, the dimpled grin -- to find something Cynthia Kereluk would change about herself.

In a world where anyone with a leotard and an attitude can sell fitness, she has it pretty good -- and knows it. Her "roving aerobics" commercials, during which she turns dairy-friendly locales (grocery stores, bakeries, schools) into quasi-milk bars and gyms, have earned her the nickname "the Dairy Lady."

But once you get beyond the fact that she's never had a cavity, never broken a bone and only once in her 32 years ever tried a Coca-Cola ("My ears are still fizzing from it"), she confesses to one flaw.

"Bunions," she said, taking off her tennis shoe and sock to reveal an ugly red swelling.

But they're nothing when you're a minor celebrity. As the spokeswoman for the Middle Atlantic Milk Marketing Association (MAMMA), she gets to autograph milk cartons, answer some 500 letters a month and tape exercise segments for TV programs, including WMAR-TV's "Morning Show," which she did yesterday.

"As adults we don't play as much as we should," she said earnestly to the camera.

With her never-say-downbeat demeanor and squeaky clean good looks, she comes across as part Pollyanna, part Barbie -- zTC incorporating the hokey pokey into her regimen, using "golly" as an expletive and giving away spare leotards to the Salvation Army.

As she travels through Maryland, Washington and Pennsylvania, the most common question she fields is: How can I lose weight?

Ms. Kereluk, who is also the host of "Cynthia's Everyday Workout" on the Lifetime Cable Channel, frets that the weight-conscious too often look on the bathroom scale for the answer.

"Scales can take your sunshine day and make it cloudy at a glance," she said.

If you prefer seeing the milk glass as half empty instead of half full, though, her view on life may quickly sour for you.

"People are surprised, for a girl my age, at how square I am," she said. "They say, 'Are you really as clean as you seem? Come on, come on. Have a drink.' "

Her vices aren't beer and wine but chocolate chip cookies and barbecue potato chips, she said. And despite an occasional snack, she keeps her 5-foot, 6-inch frame at 120 pounds, thanks to two-hour workouts five days a week.

Growing up as one of 10 adopted children -- many of whom were "physically or mentally challenged" -- she found herself drawn to exercise in part as therapy for her siblings.

"At 7 I wouldn't say pass the potatoes, I'd say pass the potassium," said Ms. Kereluk, who lives in British Columbia.

She began promoting milk three years ago after a MAMMA executive saw -- and liked -- her picture in a magazine. Only recently, however, did she begin visiting stores and encouraging unsuspecting shoppers to bend and stretch.

"At first I was embarrassed," she said. "You're worried people are going to look at you and say, 'Who the heck is that?' "

Now she's so comfortable in the role that she planned to visit shoppers at the Hunt Valley Giant Food store last night.

She doesn't feel competitive toward milk's other media star, Cal Ripken Jr., and the two have even made public appearances together. She's hard pressed, however, to say who's the bigger fan of milk.

"Cal drinks more," she said, "but only because he's bigger."

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