IIona Maher Is the Funniest Olympian on TikTok


2020 hsbc sevens

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American rugby player Ilona Maher hasn’t competed in her event at the Tokyo Olympics yet, but she’s already captured the hearts of millions with her behind-the-scenes TikToks. From inside the Olympic Village, the 24-year-old posts videos about finding love in the athlete’s cafeteria, her obsession with the Team USA tie-dye bucket hat from Ralph Lauren, and what it’s like social distancing from her coach behind a plexiglass window.

During an Olympics already mired in so much controversy—from banning star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson to outlawing athlete activism—Maher’s TikToks are a bright (and very funny) spot at this year’s Games.

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Her most popular videos are about looking for a “tall, foreign demigod-looking” athlete in the Olympic Village. The Olympic Games are a notoriously horny time in the world of sports: In a 2012 ESPN interview, U.S. target shooter Josh Lakatos said he had “never witnessed so much debauchery” as he did in the Olympic Village, and a reported 450,000 condoms were distributed at the 2016 Rio Games.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, things are much tamer this year. “There’s ’rona, so we do try and stay away from each other,” Maher says in one video.

Still, that hasn’t stopped her from documenting her journey to find love—from a safe distance, of course. “It is not that easy to go up to a pack of 6-foot-7 Romanian volleyball players to shoot my shot, I mean I’ll work on it—but I don’t know if that’s in the cards for me,” she says in this video that has more than 6.7 million views.

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In one video series, Maher and her teammates test out the infamous “anti-sex” cardboard beds (which, it should be noted, an Olympics organizer reportedly claims are a part of Tokyo’s sustainability efforts), proving both the durability of the furniture and their impressive athletic prowess.

Below, more of Maher’s best TikToks:

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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Simone Biles And Naomi Osaka Don’t Owe Us Anything


Two of the world’s most prominent athletes are no longer bound for the tallest spot on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. Tennis wunderkind Naomi Osaka, ranked No. 2 in the world, lost to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, ranked No. 42, in a rattling upset. Simone Biles, by any measurement the world’s most accomplished gymnast, stumbled her way through the first rounds only to pull out of the women’s gymnastics final, citing a need to “focus on [her] mental health.” Osaka’s loss was a crushing blow to an already beleaguered Japan; Biles’s withdrawal opened the door for Russia to snag gold from the long-reigning US team.

The losses were heart-wrenching. They were unexpected. But they were not, as many have tried to suggest, an affront to the sport. How many more of these public meltdowns will it take for us to understand? These women do not owe us a win at the cost of their lives.

There’s a fascinating disassociation that happens when we adopt certain athletes as our figureheads and our trophies. When they are on top, we lounge on our couches and profess inauthentic patriotism. We scream at them to do better, go faster, try harder, even though we cannot do better ourselves. We project our deeply held beliefs—that, for example, America is the best nation—while, meanwhile, our country refuses to protect two women of color. And when these women dare to not disclose everything—when they refuse a press conference, when they step away from an event that is brutalizing their bodies and minds—we turn on them with a shocking viciousness, even smugness. Weak.

We think, because we cheer them on, because they are the beneficiaries of Uber Eats commercials or Nike endorsements, that women like Osaka and Biles must bifurcate their own existence. They must split into two entities: the athlete and the woman. The athlete must perform for our entertainment, volley and spring for our love, and she must be relentless in that pursuit. The woman can exist, but only as an idealized, cheerful caricature—the girlfriend or, perhaps, the daughter. They must excel at everything, even their personal relationships. We cannot glimpse at their weakness, lest it detract from our adoration. We do not want to see Serena Williams’s anger. We do not want to see the weight on Biles’s shoulders as she leaves the mat. We do not want to see Osaka at home, asking herself, “So what am I, if not a good tennis player?” Why give her the space to ask this question, when it’s one we seem to find so irrelevant?

These women do not have control over their own narratives, because we cannot allow them control over their own minds.

I started analyzing this phenomenon in earnest after I saw several reviews for Naomi Osaka, the new Netflix docuseries directed by Time’s Garrett Bradley, which one critic said had “the feel of an extended public relations release.” In one episode, Osaka asks herself that desperate inquiry: If she cannot win, then who is she? If she is not the athlete, is there any room for the woman? And I was ashamed to find my own view of her had grown cynical. Because Osaka herself authorized the taping, it felt tainted. My instinct as a journalist is to be skeptical of any celebrity with control over their own narrative. After all, people with the power to shape their stories can lie.

And yet, there is an earnestness in watching the way Bradley’s camera moves over Osaka’s face, focusing on her emotions more than her forehands. In an interview about the show, I asked Bradley how she felt her direction differed from the media’s interpretation. “The press approaches athletes and public figures from one dimension,” she said. “And typically that’s through a series of questions that can then be brought out into the world. As a filmmaker, the films themselves need to honor the multiple dimensions that make up a person and their life and their journey. That isn’t something you can always do in a 10-minute interview.”

In journalism school, I was taught that the prime method for extracting the truth was through these sorts of interviews. But, reading the coverage of Osaka’s abrupt departure from the French Open, I realized the wisdom of Bradley’s words. So few of the press conferences that Osaka so badly wished to escape had actually shed light on her performance, far less her personhood. Instead, these questions had tortured her. When did suffering become our goal?

As social media’s influence has skyrocketed over the past few years, so has, it seems, our proclivity for projection. We watch Osaka step away from the microphone, and we read it as an assault on the media, as a failure of her duties, as a weakness for which a multimillion-dollar athlete should not be allowed. When she loses a match she was expected to win, we can afford her no empathy, as she has made us a laughingstock. As the New York Times reported, after Osaka’s loss on July 26, one commenter on Twitter wrote, “She conveniently became ‘depressed,’ conveniently healed, and was given the honor of being the final torchbearer. And then she loses an important game just like that. I can only say that she is making light of sports.”

The same can be said of Biles. When she pulls out of a competition for fear of injuring herself, as the pressure around her reaches a fever pitch none of us can comprehend, we call her a disappointment, a “quitter,” a “snowflake.”

We can pretend these women are at the top of the world. That, because they have reached the pinnacle of their sports, they can control everything around them. They can control their own stories, their own destinies. But these women do not have control over their own narratives, because we cannot allow them control over their own minds. We would never allow it. As our champions, they belong to us.

During our interview, Bradley observed something striking: “The world that we live in right now has so many different avenues to facilitate projection from other people onto other people. And that’s not something that I think anyone has control over. What one does have control over is their voice, and how they use it and when they want to use it.”

We think Osaka and Biles owe us a good show, no matter the personal cost, no matter how it strips them of their voice. As another Twitter commenter wrote, “A true champion endures, risks and sacrifices EVERYTHING to be #1.” But this is the great propaganda, the infectious untruth. These women actually owe us nothing. We own no right to their stories. A champion understands that to sacrifice everything is to lose everything. And what is the point of being a champion, if not to win?

They might appear in advertisements for brands we approve of, or play a sport about which we pretend to know everything, but these women do not bend to our whim. Osaka and Biles are not subhuman just because their bodies are superhuman. They are living women with interior lives so rich, we would weep if we knew them. Moreover, they are young women, still years away from the greatest adventures of their lives. If stepping away from the stage—and our ever-encroaching spotlight—is what they need to do to live another day, how can we possibly argue for anything else? Consider it the ultimate hypocrisy. As Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka exit, we only have ourselves to blame.

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Oscar de la Renta and Clé de Peau Beauté’s Collab Is a Beauty (and Fashion) Lover’s Dream


odlr x cle de peau collaboration

Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

After seeing Taylor Swift’s grand return to the Grammys this past March in that stunning mini flower dress by Oscar de la Renta, I’ve been chasing that high ever since. Was it the intricate design, the matching mask, or that she and ex-beau Harry Styles were spotted chatting that got me all worked up? I’ll never know! What I do know is that now you and I can get our own slice of her red carpet floral heaven thanks to Oscar de la Renta’s latest collaboration.

Clé de Peau Beauté x Oscar de la Renta Collection

The legendary fashion house has joined forces with the luxury skincare and makeup brand Clé de Peau Beauté to create a limited edition beauty pouch available exclusively in Luxury Stores on Amazon. Launched today, the pouch dons the pressed floral print from Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2021 Splendor of Nature collection, originally debuted by Swift at this year’s Grammys. This partnership comes in part due to the creative directors of the fashion brand, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, being long-time fans of the luxury Japanese beauty brand.

Each makeup bag will feature favorites of the creatives from Clé de Peau Beauté and other bestsellers. Some standouts include favorites of Kim’s like the Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme made with platinum golden silk and pearl elements and the versatile Lip Glorifier that’s a moisturizing lip balm primer and lip tint all wrapped in one. Other prized skincare samples from the brand featured include its Volumizing Cream Supreme, an anti-aging serum, the Protective Fortifying Emulsion SPF22, and its Vitality-Enhancing Eye Mask Supreme.

Whether you’re a fashion fanatic, beauty lover, or a fellow Swiftie, you can grab the Clé de Peau Beauté and Oscar de la Renta limited edition collection over on Amazon starting today for a cool $415. Get to it quick because something this iconic won’t be around forever.

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