The world will be watching as Ilona Maher and the U.S. women’s rugby team compete in the Tokyo Olympics this week, beginning on Wednesday night.
But nearly half a million fans are already very familiar with the 24-year-old Vermont native, who has become a verified TikTok celebrity by giving a humble behind-the-scenes look at the Olympics. She’s everything her generation looks for in a gold-tier influencer: a bucket-hat wearing body positivity activist who solicits eye drop advice from “best friend” and vlogger Hank Green.
Ilona, who describes her self-deprecating TikToks as “funny and unfiltered,” also posts “thirst traps” of herself wearing her signature glasses and a red, white and blue tie-dye hat to rep Team USA. She says her cheeky videos are “a way I can escape and not stress about my upcoming games.”
She keeps it real, sharing, “I don’t love my body [all] the time but I’ve grown really appreciate it. I get very mad at myself when I make mistakes. I’m self conscious that my personality may be too much for some people.”