The Stunning Transformation Of TikToker Katie Feeney

By the time she was a senior in high school, Katie Feeney had already amassed a fortune as a social media star. The Maryland native rose to fame during the coronavirus pandemic, building a career by sharing popular short-form videos. TikTok became one of her biggest platforms, transforming her and many other everyday Gen-Zers into immensely successful content creators. She's since garnered a staggering 7 million followers on TikTok, almost 2 million followers on Instagram and Snapchat combined, and nearly 4 million subscribers on YouTube — all while she's still a college student.

Skyrocketing to social media superstardom at such an early age has been a game-changer for Feeney. Since 2022, she's been hired as a White House social media correspondent and became the first person to ever hold that same position for the NFL. "The presence I built on social media across not just TikTok, but especially YouTube and Instagram, opened up so many doors for me," she told Her Campus. "I've gotten hands-on experience in both the social media world and broadcast journalism."

Feeney was once a teenager who had a knack for putting together lip-syncing videos, not knowing the incredible achievements that were soon to come. With years of professional experience behind her (before she even received her college diploma), there's no telling what the future holds for the sports enthusiast. So how did a girl from Maryland become a millionaire influencer? Here's a look at the stunning transformation of TikToker Katie Feeney.

Katie Feeney was a huge sports fan growing up

Katie Feeney may not have dreamed of being a sports journalist, but the TikTok star has long been a sports fan. She grew up with two older brothers in Olney, Maryland, where rooting for her favorite team was a family activity. "Growing up in Maryland, my family and I have always been massive Washington football fans," she shared with Barrett Media in 2022. 

The content creator is incredibly close to her brothers if her social media videos are any indication. In 2019, she posted a sweet TikTok video sharing her goodbyes as her siblings moved away to college. "My brothers left for college today," she captioned the video, which included a clip of her in tears. "I'm gonna miss them [so much]," she added.

While Feeney is now reporting from the sidelines, she had a very different idea for her future growing up. "I wanted to be a doctor," she said on a 2023 episode of the "Trading Secrets" podcast. "... I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer because my dad was a lawyer." She later settled on pursuing a career in physical therapy, but all bets were off when she started to gain traction as an influencer when was a junior in high school. "But prior to that, I never would've pictured myself doing what I'm doing today," she explained. "I mean this is my dream job that I didn't know at the time."

Feeney trained with 'Dance Moms' star Abby Lee Miller

Much like her love for sports, Katie Feeney's passion for dance also started when she was young. The social media influencer has posted several Instagram photos alongside her high school dance team friends, as well as different TikTok videos of the team showing off their choreography before dance competitions. Feeney even trained with the famous TLC reality star, Abby Lee Miller, from "Dance Moms." In 2015, she shared an Instagram photo posing with Maddie Ziegler and other participants in one of Miller's dance camps. "Throwback to when I went to Abby Lee boot camp," Feeney captioned a TikTok video, accompanied by a compilation of photos from her time at the studio.

Though the content creator mentioned she took tap classes as a child, she joked about sharing a room with successful dancers and well-known "Dance Moms" stars like Ziegler and Nia Sioux. Feeney didn't participate in the show, however, and she clarified in the comments that she had won a scholarship to one of Miller's camps at the time.

Feeney turned her love for dance into a philanthropic mission as well, when the TikTok star announced her partnership with Dance Hope Cure in 2017. "Proud to be an ambassador for Dance Hope Cure, a childhood cancer awareness campaign," she wrote on Instagram at the time. "Everyone please follow @dancehopecure to help kids help fight cancer."

She was bullied in middle school for her social media

While Katie Feeney is living the life of a social media star with endless opportunities, she wasn't always the popular kid growing up. The Maryland native started making videos on an app called (later acquired by TikTok) when she was 13 years old, a platform that specialized in 15-second to minute-long videos where users lip sync or dance along to songs or clips. 

Feeney started out posting videos with members from her dance team before transitioning into comedy shorts. "I hadn't gotten into a niche yet, but I had fun. But wasn't cool at all — especially not in the way that TikTok is cool [now]," she told the New York Post. In fact, was so uncool that her decision to branch out into social media ultimately backfired. "In middle school, I quit for about a year because kids were giving me such a hard time for it in school," she explained. "I'd come home crying, saying 'I don't want to do this. I don't want to be the weird social media girl.'" Feeney eventually made it back to social media, but didn't yet know how lucrative her second go-around would be.

Feeney was very busy in high school until she wasn't

Katie Feeney had quite the full schedule while attending Sherwood High School in Olney, Maryland. The future social media star was involved in several extracurricular activities, including being the student government's treasurer and a member of the cheerleading squad. Feeney posted videos and photos to Instagram dancing alongside her teammates at various school events, as well as unboxing videos featuring what she takes to typical cheerleading competitions.

She was also a member of the track and field team, competing in the high jump and both 200 and 400-meter dash events, according to Mile Split. As you might have guessed, Feeney showcased her high jump on Instagram and her hurdle skills on TikTok, where she documented "a day in the life of a track girl." However, when a historical event shut down schools across the globe, she had nothing but time to laser-focus on growing her social media following.

The coronavirus pandemic helped her achieve star status online

In March 2021, an 18-year-old Feeney was spotlighted by The Washington Post for her meteoric social media rise. Confined to her house to do virtual learning, Feeney made more than $1 million from companies eager for the high schooler to advertise their products. She couldn't believe it herself. "It's just so surreal, and it's crazy that this much money can be made by posting on social media," she said. "It's still kind of hard for me to process." The month prior, Feeney was showcased in People for earning $200,000 in a week on Snapchat's Spotlight. "I was very, very skeptical, and so were my parents!" she said.

Feeney, now a junior at Penn State, spoke to Elite Daily in 2023 about her warp speed trip to viral sensation while still in high school. "Once YouTube Shorts came out," she explained, "I posted all the time and went from 20,000 subs to 3.3 million." Feeney has her longevity on TikTok to thank for her success. "[W]hen a new platform comes out, the earlier you're on the better of a chance you're going to have that success because there's less people on it now," she explained on the "Trading Secrets" podcast. "I would say on TikTok it's much harder to grow at the pace I grew at."

Arriving at Penn State made her reassess her career goals

Thanks to her success on social media, Katie Feeney didn't have to budget when it came down to selecting which college to attend. While she initially thought she would attend the University of Maryland, not having to take out loans due to the pretty penny she earned posting viral videos meant she could expand her options. "Penn State was always like a school I wanted to go to it was just more realistic that I would go to Maryland," she shared in an interview with PSN News, "... because of my success on social media, I was able to pay fully for Penn State and that all ultimately was why I came here."

Expanding on the social media skills she spent years developing, Feeney decided to major in broadcast journalism with an eye towards a future in sports broadcasting. She initially enrolled as a business major, but her love of sports proved to be too powerful to ignore when she first visited PSU's famed Beaver Stadium. "It was so unreal: the atmosphere, the students ... I knew from that point forward, I needed to pursue something in sports because there really is nothing like it," she told Her Campus.

Feeney had hoped to fly under the radar at her university, but that changed rather quickly when the dean announced her TikTok page to her freshman class. "I still can't believe this happened," she wrote on a TikTok video recalling the incident.

She got her first ever job in the NFL

Katie Feeney hit the big time in 2022 when she snagged the role of social media correspondent for the NFL's Washington Commanders. The position was a first not only Feeney, but the league as well, since the job hadn't existed before the TikTok star came along. Feeney began her position in January, getting behind-the-scenes access to practices and games, and using her skills to develop new and exciting content for the Commanders' social platforms. 

"I was shooting behind-the-scenes content of the players warming up, hanging out with the fans, anything they did before the game, essentially," Feeney told the New York Post. The content creator proved to be a perfect fit for the role and she was able get exponentially more engagement on the teams' various social media accounts. 

"There aren't a lot of people my age in the professional sports industry — and there definitely are not a lot of women — so being able to do this feels really cool," she told the publication. Feeney's age and adeptness at making short-form videos across multiple platforms helped the Commanders reach a whole new audience. "I love getting to show people things they wouldn't normally be able to see," she told Elite Daily. "Reaching a younger fan base is a goal of mine — getting people to fall in love with football who maybe have never watched a game before." It also doesn't hurt that Feeney's parents are big Commanders fans, and got to enjoy the perks of her media access. 

Feeney made her way to the White House for a reporting job

Katie Feeney knows a thing or two about getting her foot in the door, from working in the NFL to even snagging a role at the White House. In 2022, Feeney was appointed as a White House social media correspondent for AKSM News, reporting at official events and publishing it on different social media channels. The Penn State student was allowed to give America's political system a fresh take, giving viewers an inside look at some of the ongoings inside those prestigious halls.

"I do a lot of the special event coverage," she explained to Elite Daily. "I go to D.C. a few times a year ... I went when the Super Bowl LVII champs Kansas City Chiefs visited and captured everything that goes on that you wouldn't normally see on TV," she added. The job meant a learning curve for Feeney, who was introduced to new equipment and reporting styles that go beyond the realm of an iPhone's selfie mode. "We'll do a lot of practice standup, so I'll have an actual camera and practice talking about the event, which is new to me because it's definitely broadcasting as opposed to the social media I normally do," Feeney said, adding, "It's been cool to merge the two."

It's certainly an opportunity to take on what many journalists would consider a dream job, all while still an undergraduate student. "At the end of the day, if you love something, you just have to go for it," she told Elite Daily.

She went public with her boyfriend Jack Hurley on her Instagram

Katie Feeney became a verified star while in a relationship with her childhood friend Sean Yamada, but their relationship eventually fizzled out due to distance. Around 2022, Feeney started posting TikTok videos and social media posts without Yamada. Feeney confirmed the split in a YouTube shorts Q&A in February that year. The influencer found a shoulder to cry on, however, and moved on with MLB player Jack Hurley in May 2022. 

The same year, the content creator posed with Hurley on Instagram after his Virginia Tech Hokies won the ACC Championship that year. "Hey ACC champ," she captioned the picture that featured the two love birds hugged up and smiling.

After playing for Virginia Tech, Hurley was drafted by the MLB in 2023. Feeney commented on an Instagram post announcing the news at the time, writing, "They got the best," alongside a heart emoji. Hurley played for the Arizona Diamondbacks for only a week, however, before he was moved to the minor leagues for the 2023 season. Hurley played for the Visalia Rawhide and Hillsboro Hops, prepping for another try at the MLB draft in 2024.

 The center fielder has been making trips to see his girlfriend while pursuing his MLB career, and Feeney posted a photo of them together at a Penn State game. "Adventures with you," she captioned the Instagram snap in 2023.

What's next for the social media star?

As far as Katie Feeney is concerned, the world is her social media oyster. From NFL sidelines to hanging around the Oval Office, the sky's the limit when it comes to what she may accomplish next. Though she switched from business to broadcast journalism, Feeney told Elite Daily that she may still explore the entrepreneurship avenue in the future.

"My long-term goals are to continue to work in the sports industry and to take my followers along with me on my journey," she said, adding, "I would also love to have my own podcast and my own business." A potential podcast would be up Feeney's alley, especially with the number of TikTokers who have branched out to launch their own weekly podcast episodes, such as Tana Mongeau and her "Cancelled" brand. 

"For a podcast, I'd like to be able to share words of wisdom going from being a teenage girl to now in college, and talk about health and fitness and what it's like being a woman in sports," she explained. "Not only the cool things I've been able to do, but also the everyday stuff that everyone deals with." One thing's for sure however, Feeney doesn't want to focus on just one area of interest. "I used to struggle with picking a niche to focus on. I like to unbox packages; I like to talk about makeup, beauty, and fashion; and I also love sports. But my niche is myself — these are all the things I love to do," Feeney admitted.