When name, image and likeness became an avenue for college athletes to earn money, Maryland women’s basketball’s Faith Masonius didn’t know how players like herself would benefit.

In the summer of 2022, Masonius went to the INFLCR NIL Summit to appear on a panel with fellow women’s basketball players. Talking with other athletes and sharing tips helped Masonius figure out how she could use NIL to her advantage. While speaking on a panel, one piece of advice stuck out.

“I remember Fran [Belibi] telling me, or telling everybody, to promote yourself and to know your worth when it comes to NIL and being able to stick up for yourself,” Masonius said. “Since then, I was kind of like, ‘OK, don’t be embarrassed to stick up for yourself or ask for more or have a mature conversation about your needs, your wants.’”

Nearly two years later, Masonius has built a successful brand for herself, using NIL to partner with brands like Under Armour, Steve Madden and the Washington Capitals. She’s built it by staying true to herself and sharing her personal story through TikTok and other social media platforms.

Masonius’s love for creating content evolved from her love of taking photos with her friends and sisters. She started to build a following in high school and college from her on-court abilities, but it wasn’t until Masonius was forced to the sidelines that she started making TikToks and videos.

“It truly didn’t start for me on TikTok until I got hurt and I tore my ACL and I kind of just started sharing my story on there and then ever since I’m like ‘oh, making videos, this is kind of fun,” she said.

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One video detailing her recovery from the knee injury, which is pinned to Masonius’s TikTok page, has more than 357,000 views.

Her most frequent TikToks — called “get ready with me” videos — take viewers through her hair and makeup routine while sharing details from her daily life or discussing upcoming Terps games.

“I think it’s just having fun with it and trying to just be honest and real with it,” Masonius said.

While some college athletes with larger followings than Masonius have larger brand deals, she said it’s important for athletes like herself to start small. That includes deals with local businesses — in her case, collaborating with local and regional companies, then working up from there.

“Hopefully, that just continues up and keeps on going up and you get to work with the companies that you might use on a daily basis,” Masonius said.

Masonius began her NIL journey before the formation of the One Maryland Collective. But Chris Weiner, the collective’s executive director, has paid attention to her success with NIL.

“The thing that stands out most to me about what she’s doing is her ability to authentically connect with the audience,” he said. “The content that she’s posting is certainly relatable. It seems like she’s really trying to stay true to her values.”

Masonius’s success with NIL is inspiration for other athletes looking to create NIL partnerships, Weiner said. She’s an example of an athlete who is authentic and creates partnerships with brands that are important to her.

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The fifth-year player is deliberate about the brands she works with. When a brand reaches out, she researches to see if it aligns with her content and values.

“If a company is not morally known to be good or benefit people, you got to be a little bit selective,” Masonius said. “You’re putting yourself out there with that brand. So they’re representing you and you’re representing them.”

Masonius partnered with the Capitals for an NIL deal in February. The team sent her a jersey and tickets, which she used to take teammates Shyanne Sellers, Lavender Briggs and Jakia Brown-Turner to a hockey game. She posted photos of her experience while donning the gifted jersey to promote the team.

“I think that was my favorite by far,” Masonius said.

Building her own brand and creating partnerships has been a learning experience for Masonius. Discussing contracts and deliverables has given her business and “real-life” experience, she said.

It also taught her about time management. From planning out content to checking emails to attending in-person meetings and events, on top of balancing practices and school, Masonius equated building NIL partnerships to having a second job.

She now gives younger athletes similar advice to what she received at the panel two years ago. Even something as simple as a hairbrush could lead to an NIL deal if the athlete pursues it.

“A big thing my mom taught me is ‘hey, the least they can say is no or the most they could say is no,” Masonius said. “So just put yourself out there.”