Ilona Maher tiktok queen


Why Ilona Maher, US Olympian and Rugby star, is known as ‘The TikTok Queen’

Ilona Maher is crushing it, both on the rugby field and on TikTok.


Angela Andaloro

Pop Culture

Ilona Maher has proven to be an it-girl, both on the rugby scene and on TikTok. In 2020, the Olympian proved that she’s as savvy online as she is on the rugby field, endearing herself to countless fans who are excited to see her back at the Olympics this summer.

The basics about rugby star Ilona Maher

Ilona Maher is a talented rugby player, but rugby is not the sport she started in. A natural athlete, Ilona played a variety of sports growing up. In high school, she played rugby, as well as field hockey, basketball, and soccer.

She set her sights on rugby, specifically, when she attended Quinnipiac University and began competing internationally after graduating with her degree in nursing.

In 2020, the center earned a spot on the Olympic team and competed in rugby sevens at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

How did Ilona Maher become the TikTok Queen among Olympic athletes?

During her time in Tokyo in 2020, Ilona Maher began documenting her experiences. (Remember, the Olympic games were postponed for a year due to the pandemic and actually took place in 2021.) Even once they were back on, there were many restrictions for participating athletes to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.

@ilonamaher My screen time is nothing to be proud of #tokyo2020 #beastbeautybrains #olympics #usarugby #tokyoolympics #olympictiktok #teamusa ♬ I'm A Survivor – Reba McEntire

Making the most of her time there while abiding by all restrictions, Ilona took to TikTok to share what it was like in the Olympic Village. She discussed the food, meeting other athletes, learning about Japanese culture, and more.

@ilonamaher Replying to @arielbaer406 How I became an Olympian #beastbeautybrains #rugby #olympian #usarugby #tokyoolympics #rugger #athletechallenge #athlete #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Ilona Maher

Her genuine curiosity and gratitude for her first time at the Olympics, plus her fun and approachable demeanor had viewers hooked.

@ilonamaher Sad girl vibes #beastbeautybrains #tokyoolympics #rugby #olympictiktok #usarugby #tokyo2020 ♬ Kiss Me More (feat. SZA) – Doja Cat

Ilona’s content also focused on body positivity, celebrating strong female bodies. Although it wasn’t the rugby team’s year to shine, she continued to provide valuable and entertaining content to her growing followership.

@ilonamaher Took a page out of @codymelphy playbook #beastbeautybrains #tokyoolympics #rugby #olympictiktok #usarugby #tokyo2020 #ilonamaher #olympicvillage ♬ original sound – Ilona Maher

“I consider social media my second job,” Ilona told Seven Days VT. “I’m a rugby player first, but the social aspect is such a big part of me.”

@ilonamaher I am available #beastbeautybrains #olympics #tokyoolympics #tokyo2021 #japan #olympicvillage #athlete #olympictiktok #teamusa ♬ original sound

The star’s rugby and social media talents are both strong going into the 2024 Olympics

Ilona will once again represent Team USA in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. While she’s sure to share her experience on TikTok once again, Ilona has said being present is important to her too.

@ilonamaher @paris2024 @Team USA @USA Rugby ♬ GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINESSS – fierydeltav_

“My main thing first is just to enjoy all those moments before Paris, because as I learned from the last one, you’re in, you’re out. Boom. You’re done. Next four years, maybe, maybe go to the next Olympics. And I’m like, wait, that’s it?” she told

“I trained my whole life, four years for this one moment and it’s over. It’s really been important for me to enjoy these moments with my teammates and the laughs in the locker room. The car rides. Because it is so fleeting and nothing is guaranteed, especially in sport, and especially the sport I play.”

Good luck this year, Ilona, and please keep the TikToks coming!

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