Ilona Maher Reminds Us That Even Olympians Have Cellulite

The rugby player is also a body positivity advocate who uses her platform for good.
Ilona Maher

Ilona Maher.

Rugby player Ilona Maher is an Olympic athlete who’s been practicing her sport since the age of 17. The 27-year-old athlete is also a body positivity advocate who uses her online platforms to spread messages of self-love.

Maher, who represented Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, took some time to spread a body positive message on TikTok earlier this week. With a picture of herself in action in the backdrop, Maher spoke about something many women struggle with: cellulite.

“This is my leg from a past rugby tournament,” she narrated as she pointed out her leg in the photograph. “I am a literal Olympian. I am a professional athlete. I run all day long. I lift weights all day long, constantly. And that is what my leg still looks like. I have cellulite everywhere. It is completely normal, completely natural, it does not take away from your athletic ability or how fast or how fit you are, it’s just something that’s part of your body. We all have it.”

The clip, which has since been viewed more than 2.2 million times, struck a chord with many of Maher’s 1.1 million followers, many of whom piped in to the comments section with praise.

“You have no idea how much hearing this means. 💗,” one fan wrote. “It doesn’t take away from how beautiful you are. And YOU are stunning.”

“I know I’m repeating myself, but you are literally the role model I wish I had in my teens 💖 sincerely, 40year old me,” another person shared.

“The little girl in me thanks you for using your platform to share this 💓,” someone else graciously added.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.