It’s no question that Hilary Knight has one of the best Instagram accounts - if not the best Instagram - in women’s hockey. She has 152,000 Instagram followers. For reference, Kendall Coyne-Schofield has 51,600 followers, and Marie-Philip Poulin has 35,600 followers. Hilary is a professional hockey player. She’s also a social media influencer, and going through this post will help explain a small part of how she’s gotten there.
Here were the rules I followed putting this together: the post could not be an ad, the picture could not (to the layperson’s eye) be taken by a professional photographer (so, no modeling shoots or in-game pics) and it had to be an Instagram post, not a Snapchat story, Instagram story, or Twitter-only picture.
Here’s what this picture says: I’m cool, I’m hip, I know how great my profile is, and I know how to cuff my jeans (and skateboard). The fact that her shirt clearly needs ironing just makes her appear even more approachable, as evidenced by the number of, uh, ‘approaches’ she’s getting in the comments here.
A hockey player’s flow is a majorly important part of their identity. She loses points for this being taken in a car on the road (only take car selfies while in park, folks) but gains points for the impeccable eyebrows and the tiniest hint of her tattoo. Giving us a full view of the tattoo would have been too much, too obvious. The subtlety here, plus the great lighting, is key. It makes it seem like she just looks like this, even though we all know she had to put some effort into the framing and posing of the shot.
There are plenty of pictures of Hilary with trophies on her Instagram. She’s won plenty of trophies, after all. But this one...this one was carefully crafted. I refuse to believe she is not flexing here, but I also refuse to judge her for flexing. What better time to flex? Bonus points for the Hickel photobomb and the Isobel Cup, back when it had handles.
Literally only Hilary Knight could be like, ‘here’s a picture of me getting a finger tattoo’ and somehow get over 10,000 likes on it. That being said, this was no accident. The soft and trendy fit, the messy bun, the sponsored beanie- all carefully calculated, and very good.
Follow-up to that other picture: the reveal of the finger tattoo(s), a stunning background, the sponsored snapback, the chain, the freckles, a teammate in the background to show you that she is cool and social on some beautiful tropical island. Ok, we get it!!
This is one of the best ways that I’ve ever seen anyone demonstrate that they lift weights. You may be looking at this like, ‘what does this have to do with lifting weights?’ but I guarantee you that you spent at least SOME time looking at her delts here. That’s not a mistake. Plus she has a great smile, and you don’t get to celebrate like this if you haven’t kicked some serious butt beforehand. Every picture of her chilling reminds you that she’s an Olympic gold medalist, as it should. Bonus: the caption is funny, and the lack of punctuation makes her #relatable.
Okay, I know this seems like an ad, but I’m not counting it because she wears Red Bull stuff all the time and it’s not tagged as an #ad and doesn’t read like someone from an agency wrote her a caption about it. I could be wrong, but I think the point of the picture probably wasn’t the Red Bull. I also don’t need to tell you why this picture has 11,456 likes and 100 comments.
Once again, the girl knows her angles. Something really genius about posting not the selfie she’s taking, but a picture of her taking a selfie. She has a great profile, and she knows it. This picture didn’t get quite as much attention but it’s very good so I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the caption...but as far as gym pics go this is inventive and refreshing and I can’t say I mind it.
Anyone with dogs knows that they have the ability to post a good picture. Even if you’re not super good looking, people are probably mostly going to look at your dog. Hilary is a double-threat, and she’s also usually smiling, so the puppy-dog eyes she’s giving the camera plus the actual snoozing puppy dog is a LOT.
Look, there’s only one reason you post a picture like this. I’m shocked it didn’t hit ten thousand likes, but she knows what she’s doing and I’m proud of her. Why am I proud? Because it is so hard to take this exact picture and not look like every other dude on Tinder. I don’t know how she avoided it. Maybe it’s the eyebrows, maybe it’s the fact that she still looks like someone who bathes regularly (seriously, have you seen Tinder guys? It’s been like five years for me and I still know), maybe it’s the raw starpower, but the fact that she pulls this off at all puts it in the top five.
This one is just hilarious. You’re welcome for doing a deep dive into her Instagram and finding it for you. It’s gold.
Hilary’s version of “I woke up like this,” stunting on all of us who have ever tried to do a messy bun and ended up looking like a founding father. It’s not fair, but that’s life.
She doesn’t post a lot of pictures with her hair down, which is part of what makes this one so good. But also, seeing female athletes support other female athletes is one of the best things ever. I do wish you could tell that this was a USWNT jersey more easily—and I wish she had a number on it because I want to know whose she would get—but the lighting is good, the outfit is good, the concept is good, and the flexing emoji is the cherry on top.
Everything about this picture is incredible. The composition. The negative space. The mountain in the background. The shirt draped over her shoulder casually (it almost convinced me). The dog. The emoji-only caption. Art. Hang it in the Louvre.