Olympian Ilona Maher Opens Up About “Multi-talented” Jennifer Lopez’s Perfect TikTok Response

lona Maher has had to deal with “hard times of self-doubt” whilst representing her country in a competitive world stage. The 24-year-old Olympian, who earned thousands of fans for her incredible performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, recently reflected on her highs and lows of playing competitive rugby and the feeling of being noticed by one’s long-time hero.

Ilona Maher And Jennifer Lopez’s Adorable TikTok Interaction

Ilona Maher’s official TikTok account gained 800,000 followers after the U.S. rugby player put in a spectacular performance during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But that’s not the only thing that’s making Ilona happy. She also got a shout-out from superstar singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. Who wouldn’t be thrilled by that?

That was just cool,” Ilona shared with E! News in an exclusive interview. “We were like, ‘Maybe we should just make a fun video of her, but she’ll probably never see it, but it will be just fun.’ We made this video, and then I woke up seeing that she’d seen it.”

As for her reaction to her dreams of Jennifer Lopez noticing her little stunt coming true, she gushed: “I was like, ‘That’s awesome, because anyone can use—probably even J.Lo goes through some hard times of self-doubt, so let me just show her I think she is absolutely amazing. So, I am really happy that she saw that.”

Ilona Maher First Reached Out To The Multi-Award Winning Performer With A Fangirling Video.

“Hey, J.Lo,” she started, while waving a cutout picture of Lopez’s glammed-up face. “I just wanted to let you know that I love you so much. I think you’re so multi-talented and you can do literally everything.”

“I wanna let you know also that I was given multiple cutouts of hot men, but I chose you because you’re my number one. OK, bye,” the athlete concluded.

According to a report released by PEOPLE, Ilona mentioned that J.Lo’s movies, Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner, are her favorites.

On Aug. 1, J.Lo returned the massive love Ilona publicly showed her with an adorable shout-out. Lopez reposted Ilona’s video on TikTok and added the caption: “I choose you too @ilonamaher [heart] Go team USA.”

Apart from getting noticed by THE Jennifer Lopez, Ilona also talked about her weird moment coming face-to-face with another long-time idol during the Olympic Games. “I can’t say I fangirl too often,” she explains, “but I did get a little excited when I saw [basketball player] Brittney Griner.”

She further added: “I definitely wanted to take a picture with her, because I have read her book before… I think it’s interesting to be in a village of athletes who, a lot of them, are pretty well known. So, it’s like a lot of these exceptional people in one place, you’d be fangirling the whole time.”

Ilona Maher On Taking Care Of Her Mental Health

The Olympian admitted that she has been “going through a pretty hard time right now.” Her way of escape from the harsh gloomy thoughts? “It has been just hanging out with people I love and not being alone with my thoughts, I think that has been key.”

“At least for me, I have been chatting with my family and doing things to take my mind off it… My mind is constantly worrying,” she further continued in her E! News interview. “I think it is also having someone to talk to, that might not be just your family, like a sports psych or even just a psychologist or therapist. A sounding board is just good, because [sometimes] you really do get trapped up there.”

Her advice to young fans who are dreaming to play competitively and internationally one day is to be as versatile as possible. “My advice to them, for even young girls—my dad and I talked about this—is to try out a lot of different sports,” she offers. “There are a lot of great sports out there, and I think by just putting yourself in one sport so early could not be so good for your body and for your love of the sport.”

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