The Stunning Transformation Of Katie Feeney

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, we're willing to bet that you've come across Katie Feeney. Since 2019, Feeney has been quickly rising through the ranks of social media influencers. After getting her start on TikTok in high school with lifestyle content, she struck gold in 2021 when she made $1 million from content creation on Snapchat.  

As of this writing, Feeney is a college student at Penn State University and busy building a career as a sports journalist who is well on her way to becoming one of the biggest sports personalities of her generation — one who ushers in a new age of social media reporting. Her career has taken her to the Super Bowl and the White House. As if all of that weren't enough, in 2023, she was named one of Instagram's Creators of Tomorrow.

So, how did she get here? Let's take a look back.

Katie Feeney grew up in Maryland with dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer

Katie Feeney was born on August 16, 2002. She grew up in Olney, Maryland with her two older brothers and her parents. From a young age, she was surrounded by sports. "Growing up in Maryland, my family and I have always been massive Washington football fans," she told Barrett Media in 2022.

Despite her sporty upbringing, she once had dreams of entering a very different career. "[E]ver since I was young, I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer because my dad was a lawyer," she said during an appearance on the "Trading Secrets" podcast in 2023. "And then I wanted to go into physical therapy up until my junior year of high school." She went on to explain that becoming a social media star was never even on her radar when she was younger.

Katie Feeney was a competitive dancer as a child

Katie Feeney was a very serious dancer when she was a child. A quick glimpse through her early Instagram posts in 2014 and 2015 reveal that she spent a lot of her childhood in the dance studio and even took part in competitions. 

When Feeney was young, she even trained with Abbey Lee Miller of TLC's "Dance Moms." As Feeney explained on TikTok, she wasn't a part of the series. Instead, she attended because she'd won a scholarship to the dance camp. Spending time at Abby Lee Dance Company did enable her to meet many of the stars from the show, though, including Maddie Ziegler and her sister as well as Nia Sioux. The 2020 TikTok video that Feeney posted featured photos of her and other girls training at Abby Lee Dance Company, and received over 830K likes. "Throwback to when I went to Abby Lee boot camp," she captioned the post. As a teen, she later became an ambassador for Dance Hope Cure in 2017.

Katie Feeney got her social media start on

Katie Feeney started her social media journey when she was still in middle school. At just 13 years old, she joined, an app where you can lip sync to songs and clips. At first, it was just about making "cringey" videos and having fun, as she told Elite Daily in 2023. "I made comedy videos, too," she told the New York Post. "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]." In fact, it was considered so lame she started to get bullied.

"In middle school, I quit for about a year because kids were giving me such a hard time for it in school," Feeney 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.'" However, after a year, she realized that she shouldn't let other people's opinions affect her. She told Elite Daily, "So I continued and started doing lifestyle content like unboxing videos."

Katie Feeney was very active in her high school

Katie Feeney went to Sherwood High School as a teen. While she was there, she got involved in a number of extracurriculars. For one thing, she was on the cheerleading team. She posted a video showing off her skills with a friend on Instagram in 2019.

Feeney also served as the treasurer for her school's student government and ran track and field, where she specialized in the 400-meter race. According to her Instagram feed, she also competed as a high jumper. One video from 2019 showed her doing some high jump practice. In 2019, she also posted a video on TikTok that showed her sprinting, jumping, and hurdling — clearly, she was a total track girlie at school. Feeney's rankings and best times as a track and field athlete can be found on Mile Split. Evidently, Feeney stayed extremely busy as a teen.

She struggled when her older brothers left for college

Katie Feeney was always extremely close with her older brothers — so when they both left for college, she struggled to get used to life without them in the house. In an Instagram video from 2019 captioned, "Didn't think it would be this hard. I miss my annoying brothers," Feeney showed clips of her two brothers moving away from home. She posted the same video to TikTok with the caption, "My brothers left for college today. I'm gonna miss them sm."

At the beginning of the video, her brothers can be seen packing up the car. Then, there are a few clips of Feeney helping the two boys settle into their dorm rooms. It then flashes to a clip of Feeney frowning as she says goodbye. Finally, we see the two boys waving as the car drives away with a crying Feeney inside. 

Katie Feeney went viral on TikTok in the early days of the app

In high school, Katie Feeney transitioned from to TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Pretty soon, her videos started to go viral. "I posted all the time and went from 20,000 subs to 3.3 million," she told Elite Daily. Her success continued after the COVID-19 pandemic hit and she started posting more and more videos. "I had a lot of time during that long span so I'd film multiple times per day," she said to the New York Post. Within just three months, she gained 3 million followers. 

As Feeney explained on the "Trading Secrets" podcast, she owes a lot of her success to the fact that she joined the platform when it was still new. "[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 said. "I would say on TikTok it's much harder to grow at the pace I grew at."

Katie Feeney realized social media could be a career thanks to five weeks of Snapchat

Even after all of her success on TikTok and YouTube, it wasn't until Katie Feeney started using Snapchat that she realized social media could actually be a career. "I was one of the first on Snapchat's Spotlight [a new feature on the app that used short-form video content], which is why I believe I was able to be one of the highest earners, which it was truly mind blowing," she said to "Trading Secrets." 

Feeney was one of the highest earners — in fact, she received a pay check of $1 million from the platform when she was just 18. "It's so surreal, it's hard for me to even process the information because I'm 18 years old and getting notifications that I've made $600,000," Feeney told People at the time. "My mom and I screamed once we realized this was actually happening, and I cried." 

After earning so much money from her videos on Snapchat, Feeney began to rethink her approach to social media — she suddenly realized it could be her job.

Katie Feeney decided to go to Penn State

As a child, Katie Feeney didn't have high hopes about going anywhere other than Maryland for university. "I was pretty much set up to go to Maryland, that was my plan, I didn't even really apply to many other schools, but Penn State was always, like, a school I wanted to go to," she told PSN News in 2023. "It made the most sense financially, and my brothers went there," she explained in another interview with Elite Daily.

However, everything changed when she began earning money on social media. Suddenly, she could afford to go to college outside of her home state. She picked Penn State University thanks to its incredible football culture and its school spirit. "And although the campus is huge, it's not surrounded by a big city — it's kind of in the middle of nowhere, but that's what I love about it," she said.

Katie Feeney found her first year in college difficult as a star

When Katie Feeney began at Penn State, she hoped she would be able to blend into the crowd and have a normal college experience. However, she quickly realized that might not be possible. "I think I went into going to Penn State as, 'I'm going to be unknown, I'm going in just like everyone else,'" she said on "Trading Secrets." She went on to explain that she hoped that being outside of Maryland would mean she could be "undercover." 

Then, in her very first week during a freshman assembly, one of her teachers spilled the news. "The Dean announced that there was a social media star in the freshman class," she laughed, describing how everybody turned to look at her. Feeney also posted a TikTok of the moment, writing in the caption, "I still can't believe this happened." So much for going unnoticed.

Katie Feeney's dreams changed when she went to her first football game

Although Katie Feeney was originally studying business at Penn State, that all changed after going to her first football game at the college. "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.

Ever since then, Feeney has been focusing more and more on sports reporting and content. "[W]hen I first went on the field for a Penn State game as a freshman, everything changed," she told Elite Daily of her decision to pivot from lifestyle content. "My first game was the Penn State White Out, which is a huge game when it comes to Big Ten football," she went on. When Feeney posted a video of the experience, she realized that this was what she wanted her content and her career to be about. "I knew from that moment on that I wanted to do something in sports," she said.

Katie Feeney balanced school and her burgeoning career

As Katie Feeney's career grew, she settled into a new, pretty intense routine, balancing both full-time school and a full-time career. By the sounds of things, it's all about organization and staying busy. "I enjoy being busy," she said to PSN News. Her routine, she explained, consists of waking up early, doing a work-out, and doing some content creation. "I don't have in-person classes Monday, Wednesday, or Friday [...] so I can film my brand deals on those days and then just grind out school work Tuesdays and Thursdays," she said.

But, of course, Feeney does sometimes need to take a break and reset. When she feels overwhelmed, she likes to simply get outside away from her screens. "It is so therapeutic," she said to Her Campus. "If my brain feels a little bit clogged or I feel a little stressed out, I'll get some fresh air and go on a walk."

Katie Feeney worked with the Washington Commanders

In 2022, Katie Feeney landed a life-changing job as the Washington Commanders' first-ever social media correspondent — in fact, she was the first to hold the title in the entire NFL. It began when the team invited her for a sort of trial to see what kind of content she could create. "That was a surreal moment," she said to Elite Daily. "I was able to go on the field for a bunch of games and go to their training camps. I captured a lot of behind the scenes to show the atmosphere at FedEx Field." 

After she filmed these fun behind-the-scenes clips, the team realized just how powerful Feeney's content could be. "After she came to the home finale last season, our conversation evolved into how she and the team could mutually grow their partnership in 2022," Kevin Kline, the Commanders' social media director said to the New York Post in 2022.

Since then, Feeney has collaborated with the Washington Commanders on numerous videos and met plenty of players and fans.

Katie Feeney walked the red carpet at the 2022 Super Bowl

As Katie Feeney continued to establish her career in sports journalism, more and more exciting opportunities came her way. In 2022, she reported from the Super Bowl with YouTube. "I had never seen that level of professional sports or been surrounded by other broadcasters at press interviews," she said to Elite Daily of the experience. As she recalled, her 50 videos received a staggering 35 million views over all. One of her videos, which showed her being interviewed, read "this is all so new to me." 

Although it was all new, it made her think about her future career. After going to the Super Bowl, Feeney realized that she could be a journalist who still used social media. "It sparked something in my head: This is kind of a different version of broadcasting — it's me talking to my phone instead of holding a microphone," she explained. 

Katie Feeney became a White House correspondent

As if a job with the Washington Commanders wasn't enough, Katie Feeney landed yet another dream job in late 2022 as a White House correspondent for AKSM Media. "Feeney will be responsible for broadening the reporting of the White House via social media platforms as well as detailed coverage of White House events," read the press release at the time. 

For Feeney, this role involved going to the White House "a few times a year" for special events. "Whatever is going on that day, I'll capture it on my phone and edit it," she said to Elite Daily. However, Feeney did have to get used to a new style of reporting — instead of simply filming on her phone, she started working with real cameras. "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. It's been cool to merge the two." Clearly, Feeney is well on her way to single-handedly transforming sports journalism.

Katie Feeney has big plans for the future

It may seem like Katie Feeney has already achieved enough success for a lifetime — but by the looks of things, she's only just getting started on her journey. She wants to start a podcast, start a business, and go traveling while building an even bigger audience. "I'm exploring every lane possible, but I think that's okay," she said to Elite Daily. "I don't think I have to pick one."

For now, she's keeping an open mind and preparing for the unexpected. "I don't really know what the future holds and I guess that's the exciting part, because I'm always just, like, finding out new things," she said to PSN News. 

She also wants to usher in a new era of sports where women play a bigger role. "If I can be someone to inspire younger girls to get into it," she said, that would be great.