Rugby Player Ilona Maher Is the Breakout TikTok Star of the Tokyo Olympics

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.”


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