Who’s the Amazing Woman Behind Lily of AT&T?By Yuri S.
Who doesn’t remember Lily, also known as the AT&T girl? But as you might have already guessed, Lily is not her real name. The name of the girl who played the AT&T girl is Milana Vayntrub, and the story of her career is quite interesting.
She was featured on the famous ad campaign for AT&T, but did you know she has been working in Hollywood since she was just five years old? Yes, that’s right. Recently she’s been working in TV commercials, but let’s take a closer look at the rest of her life and career.
Escaping from the USSR
Milana Vayntrub was born in Uzbekistan. She arrived in the United States with her entire family as a refugee when she was just two years old. And that explains why, despite her busy acting career, she is actively involved as an advocate for refugees.
The reason her family fled Uzbekistan was because it was part of the Soviet Union, which was going through a massive political upheaval with its dissolution. The family settled in West Hollywood and soon managed to get their daughter Milana her first acting gig. The money from her small parts helped the family find their footing in a new country where they were living as refugees.
Her Family Worked Hard for Her
When Milana Vayntrub first started working, who knew that she would go on to become so popular? In an interview, she opened up about how her entire family had to work to provide for each other.
She said in an interview that she was strongly moved by the will to pay back her family—pay them back for every extra hour they had to work just to put food on the table. This powerful determination helped her stay consistent and land one job after another from a young age.
She Is Proud of Her Roots
Milana Vayntrub is very proud of her roots. We have often seen her wearing traditional Russian clothing. She admitted that she was greatly moved by the Russian culture and way of life when she was growing up.
After moving to the United States, Milana and her family had to learn English. But they would only speak English when conversing with outsiders and their neighbors. Inside their home, they spoke in their native language when talking among themselves. She is closest to her mother and would always consult with her before doing any indelicate scenes.
A Protective Big Sister
Milana Vayntrub has a younger sister. Thanks to the good genes in the family, both of them are pretty. They both have a natural beauty that makes them the envy of many little girls. Just like Milana, her younger sister is also close with their mother.
In 2018, Milana’s little sister shared her first picture on Instagram to mark her 20th birthday. Quite honestly, her older sister wasn’t very happy about her joining the social media platform since she is very protective. Both sisters have a very strong bond with each other.
Life Started in Troubled Times
When the family was still living in Uzbekistan, they regularly suffered a lot of hardship. Their number-one fear in Uzbekistan and the United States was being attacked in public because of their religious background. That is exactly why they moved to the United States in the first place.
Deciding to immigrate to a new country as refugees took a lot of guts. And the fact that they had very little savings made the situation much worse. However, things took a turn for the better when Milana started earning money at the young age of five.
Following Her Many Passions
Although Milana’s family was living on a small budget, her parents always wanted to give their kids the best upbringing. They wanted their kids to experience everything the United States had to offer.
They wanted their daughter to discover her true self and decide what she wanted to become when she grew up. So in summer school one year, Milana took up gymnastics. She would later share in a TV interview that gymnastics is a “prerequisite for all Russian kids.”
A Natural Acting Talent
Milana Vayntrub’s family has carefully saved the first visas they received that allowed them to enter the United States. Even if the family had to face a lot of hardship during their time in Uzbekistan, which was part of the Soviet Union, they still held onto their roots, their heritage, and their native language, always speaking to each other in their native language.
Milana’s parents always knew their daughter had a natural talent for acting. This is why just a few years after landing in the United States, her family took her to her first audition as a child actress. You would be surprised to learn that she was picked on her very first audition.
Waiting for Her Breakthrough
Even though Milana had acted in some Mattel Barbie commercials when she was five, it was in 1995 when she was eight that she got her first big break. She landed a role in mainstream TV show ER.
She played the role of young Tatiana in three episodes of ER. When she first started auditioning, her goal wasn’t to make it big and become a superstar. She only wanted to help her family put food on the table.
Meeting a Star Actor
Milana was recognized for her part in the ER episode “The Birthday Party.” On the ER set, she met a pretty big star—George Clooney. She was very excited to meet the already established veteran Hollywood star.
She enjoyed working with George Clooney. But sadly, they never shared the screen again. Before her serious role in ER, she had worked as a funny, adorable kid. She would mostly play small roles in TV shows, some that weren’t very popular.
Getting Some Unwanted Attention
In recent times, Milana Vayntrub has had to face attacks on her physique. People went on her Instagram page and left lewd comments. Some even Photoshopped her head into indecent pictures. She also received some unwanted attention for her roots.
When she started doing ads for AT&T, she faced some negative comments on the company’s website. When you start getting attention for the wrong reasons, that doesn’t feel good, does it? But isn’t that common for celebrities, and Milana is no exception. Before acting in TV shows, she even had a small-lived career in modeling.
Working on the Californication Show
Californication has become a popular urban slang. But not many people know the original root of this word. Californication was a popular sitcom with David Duchovny as the protagonist.
This sitcom had a lifespan of seven years, running from 2007 to 2014, which is a very impressive feat for any sitcom these days. In the episode “Like Father Like Son,” Milana played the role of a bad actress. She was very glad to be part of such a popular TV show, and viewers still remember even today her performance in the show.
Featured in Other Spaces
Other Spaces is another TV show Milana starred in. The show was produced by Yahoo! Screen, and Milana had a role in eight episodes of the series. The first episode aired back in 2015 with Milana playing the role of Tina Shukshin, the sailor of the spaceship UMP Cruiser.
The show’s plot twist was that everyone on board had no experience navigating a spaceship. One of the characters in the series, named Tina, was only offered the job because the captain had a love interest in her.
She Started Stacking Money
How much is Milana Vayntrub worth? Well, as of 2020, her net worth stood at around $3–$4 million. Thanks to all the TV shows and commercials she has acted in, she is now considered one of the richest celebrities in Hollywood.
But if you had asked this question a year before, her estimated worth would have been only $500,000. So how did she quadruple her net worth in such a short time? Well, it’s because of the recent gigs she has been part of. And of course, she renewed her contract to star in future AT&T commercials.
Appearing In Many Notable Shows
Many people only remember Milana Vayntrub for her role in ER. But we should also remember that she starred in another popular TV show called Days of Our Lives. The first episode of this soap opera aired back in 1997.
Soon after Days of Our Lives began, big producers took notice of Milana’s performance as young Kristen and started offering her new and exciting roles in movies. Later in 2014, she even played the role of Tara, Bertram Gilfoyle’s girlfriend, in Silicon Valley.
She Is an Animal Lover
Anyone who loves animals is never a bad person deep down in their heart. That also applies to Milana Vayntrub. If you go on her Instagram profile, you will learn instantly that she has a strong bond with her four-legged doggy friend.
There are multiple pictures of Milana with her pet dog. She not only has a dog; she also has a cat. Die-hard fans of Milana made fan art of these images and sent them to her. She was so moved by this gesture that she went on Instagram to show her appreciation and asked for more of these fan arts.
Landing the AT&T Role
Milana Vayntrub has starred in many TV commercials and shows. But things changed for the better for Milana when she landed the role of Lily in commercials for AT&T. From the very first ad of the campaign, people were blown away by her charming appearance and personality.
She had a sense of humor that made everyone just love her. People went crazy to find out who this lady was. If you check the trends, you will see a drastic spike in online searches for Milana Vayntrub after the first AT&T commercial she was in.
Creating a Relatable Character
How much can you do in a TV commercial that lasts only 30 seconds? Not much, right? But wait until you see Milana’s AT&T commercials. Each of them has an average air time of 30 seconds, but Milana proved that time isn’t a factor when you have true talent.
In an interview, commercial director Hank Perlman said the idea behind the TV ads was to portray Milana as a sweet and caring figure. Although it took a lot of effort, in the end, they were able to create a personality that everyone could relate to.
She Didn’t Know She Was Funny
Talented people often undermine their gifts. Milana Vayntrub reportedly didn’t have much confidence in her comic sense. She didn’t even realize that she has a natural ability to make people laugh. When she was young, she tended to only hang out with funny people.
Even then she didn’t realize she was attracted to people with a funny bone because she had one too. Since then, she has realized that beauty, talent, and humor can go a long way. And those things landed her the role that would change her life.
Branching Out to Voice Acting
What talents does Milana Vayntrub have? Well, she can act and she is funny, but there is one more natural quality that she has—her voice. In her career, Milana has worked in a bunch of voice roles. She even worked in some podcasts and animated movies.
Through voice acting, she has tried to reach the masses. She had always tried to take a stand for global issues that matter. And why shouldn’t she? She came from humble beginnings. And it helps that she knows how to keep her global interests and her career separate.
Highlighting the Plight of Refugees
You don’t often come across celebrities who use their position to stand up for the refugee crisis in the world. But Milana Vayntrub is different. In 2016, she used her voice to raise awareness for the global refugee crisis.
She believes that refugees don’t voluntarily immigrate to a foreign country. Who would want to leave their home country behind and move to a completely new country where they have to start from scratch? She wants to highlight their stories, their hardships, their aspirations, and their lives.
Leaving Home Was Tough
Milana Vayntrub had to leave Uzbekistan and move to the United States at the young age of two. She was very young and found it hard to adapt to a new place. Now she often speaks out about the hardships and struggles she went through after moving to the United States.
That is why she can connect very deeply with the hardships that other refugees might be going through. A few years ago while she was on vacation in Greece, Milana voluntarily extended her vacation to help with the refugee situation there.
Becoming a Refugee Campaigner
After spending a lot of time in Greece helping with the refugee crisis, Milana grew numb. She started feeling guilty for taking a vacation while these refugees were spending their nights under the open sky with no food to give to their young ones.
Since that day, she has decided to spend her life fighting for the rights of refugees. It was in Greece that she decided to initiate the campaign #CantDoNothing. Milana has also involved herself with other projects that help refugees in their rehabilitation.
Becoming a Voice for the Voiceless
Being a celebrity is the dream of many. Who wouldn’t want to spend a lifetime being admired and loved by many people from every corner of the world? Milana Vayntrub has had her fair share of fame.
Along with fame, she also has an impressive net worth. She could have spent her days in a Malibu mansion, but she decided not to. Instead, she is devoting her time and energy to making the lives of refugees better. Since 2016, Milana has played a vital role in raising awareness for refugees around the world.
Launching a New Campaign
In 2016, Milana Vayntrub launched a philanthropic organization called #CantDoNothing. She was joined by another philanthropist entrepreneur, Eron Zehavi, in her efforts to raise awareness for refugees.
The sole purpose of this humanitarian organization is to make this world a better place for refugees. She often shares campaigns on her personal Instagram page and asks her followers to share them with their friends. She wants to share her ideologies with others around the world. She believes that refugees don’t deserve to be treated the way they are treated.
Going Out of Her Comfort Zone
Milana Vayntrub realized early in her life that she could use her charm and humor to make huge amounts of money. She would then go on to flaunt her comedic personality and charm everyone with her presence.
Earlier in her life, she struggled with coming out of her comfort zone, but when she broke out of that shell, she was unstoppable. Milana Vayntrub is admired as a celebrity who knows what she wants and would go to any length to turn it into reality.
Getting a University Education
Milana Vayntrub has had a very long career as a comedian. And as far back as she can remember, she has been working in the entertainment industry, starting as a young kid. But at one point in her life, she realized that she should focus on doing something a bit more serious.
She dropped out of high school and took GED test at the age of 16. She did not pursue any more education after her career in Hollywood took off. But years later, she enrolled in the University of California, San Diego to work toward a Bachelor’s degree in communications.
Getting a Role in This Is Us
Milana Vayntrub landed herself another vital role in 2016 in the TV series This Is Us. She played the role of Sloane Sandburg, a creative writer who wrote an interesting plot for a TV show.
The show revolved around three siblings, Kevin, Kate, and Randall. Before Sloane meets Kevin in the show, she kept to herself and barely had a social life. But then Sloane and Kevin hit it off pretty quickly and have an amazing chemistry. That leads her to regain her confidence as a writer.
She Was Perfect for the Role
Milana Vayntrub played the role of the screenwriter in This Is Us for eight episodes. Her character in the series has many similarities with a stereotypical sexy librarian personality. And everyone knows that Milana Vayntrub has the personality to pull off this character with natural grace.
Recently, This Is Us was made available on popular streaming platform Hulu. If you are a Milana fan, you can binge-watch the entire series this week.
Climbing Her Way to the Top
In her earlier days as an actress just starting her career, Milana Vayntrub did not have the recognition and fame she has today. She started at the very bottom and slowly climbed her way up the ladder.
She has worked for many big production companies in Hollywood. She even starred in three episodes of Lizzie McGuire with Hillary Duff as the main protagonist. By then, Milana had already landed her role in Days of Our Lives.
Always Focused on Her Goals
Milana Vayntrub has acted in numerous big TV shows and for many of the most established production companies in Hollywood. Before she was recognized in Hollywood, she acted in low-key shows such as Roommates Enemies that ran from 2012 to 2013.
Milana took these small roles so she could continue paying her bills. But she always had her eyes glued on the ultimate goal, making it big in Hollywood. No matter how big or small the role was, Milana always gave her best in every TV show or movie she was cast in.
Another Great Role for Her
Are you into sitcoms? If yes, then you must have heard about All Nighter, a sitcom that aired in 2017. It tells the story of a wealthy father who decides to spend some quality time with his daughter. However, everything changes when he is introduced to his daughter’s boyfriend.
Shooting for this TV show started in 2015, and Milana Vayntrub was cast to play the role of Terri Sadler. Along with Milana was J. K. Simmons, Analeigh Tipton, and Emile Hirsch on the set.
Further Voice Acting Work
Milana Vayntrub has played voice roles for many podcasts and TV shows. In 2016, she gave her voice for the role of Doreen Green, also known as Squirrel Girl. The character was part of the TV show Marvel’s New Warriors.
This animated show had two to three years of air time. And due to its popularity, the TV show recently just got a revamp. Milana Vayntrub reached the heights with this role. Her fans would welcome her cameos in Comi Cons. She attended the New York Comic Con in 2018 where she was loved by her fans.
She’s Big on Social Media
The Internet is the new playground to amass followers. Since social media platforms have grown in popularity, fans have taken to them to share their appreciation and love for their idols. There are several blogs and fan pages dedicated to Milana Vayntrub.
The Milana Vayntrub Diva Fan Club page on Facebook has more than 8,000 followers. She also has a huge fan following on Instagram, Reddit, and Tumblr. On Milana Vayntrub’s official Instagram account, she has more than 900,000 followers. She often posts snapshots of her personal life on Instagram.
Part of Successful Alumni
Even when she was just a high school student, Milana Vayntrub knew that she had a great sense of humor. On her campus at the University of California, San Diego, Milana was known for her jolly personality. She felt the happiest when she was in her own skin.
Little did she know that years later she would end up making a career in making people laugh. Along with her studies, she joined the theater program. Her campus had several alumni who ended up making successful careers in the entertainment industry, including Benicio del Toro and Neil Patel.
She Went Back to School
Not everyone knows that Milana Vayntrub was making TV appearances when she was barely out of diapers. She realized from an early age that acting made her happy. During her 20s, she had already made up her mind that she wanted to make a career in the entertainment industry.
But then there was school. It wasn’t her thing, and she ended up taking the GED test instead of graduating from high school. She wanted to focus on making a career in Hollywood. Later, Milana did go back to school.
Not Afraid of Anyone
One thing that bothered Milana Vayntrub was all the lewd posts and racial comments that some people put on her Instagram account. She didn’t shy away from speaking her mind to those people and claiming that she did not act in any explicit scene that demanded partial or full nudity.
However, she did pose naked for a few friends behind a curtain in a parking lot. One of her friends took a photo, and it went viral. However, if you have seen the picture, you know it isn’t as explicit as the erotic scenes we are used to seeing in Hollywood movies.
Abuse from Haters Online
After the overnight success of the AT&T commercials, Milana Vayntrub started receiving unwanted attention. Haters of Milana Vayntrub attacked her on Instagram and verbally abused and harassed her in person. All of this happened after she reached new heights of success with her role as Lily in the AT&T ads.
She shared in an interview that she often saw lewd posts about her online. While walking her dog or after waking up from a long nap, she often found inappropriate posts about her. She is very strong as a person, but she still felt attacked on a personal level.
Many Supported the Actress
Milana Vayntrub has been at the center of online harassment since the success of her AT&T commercials. After executives of AT&T noticed what was going on, the company came out and publicly backed her. They appointed someone to find who was behind the lewd comments posted on her Instagram account.
But even if you try your best, you cannot control the entire Internet landscape. You can only take some measures to curb those types of incidents from taking place in the future. Her coworkers Paul Feig and Yetide Badaki have come out on Twitter to express their support for the actress.
Moving into Becoming a Director
We only know Milana Vayntrub as an amazing actress. But not many of us know that she is also a director. In the recent web series YouTube show Let’s Talk about Something More Interesting, we get to see Milana both behind and in front of the cameras.
This series first aired in 2011, and since then, Milana has invited a number of her fellow artists on the show to talk about various issues. However, the focus of the show has always been on entertaining people. The show has a total of 15 episodes.
Working with Matt Damon
In Let’s Talk about Something More Interesting, Milana Vayntrub plays several roles. One of her best friends, Stevie Nelson, played a few parts in it. The show interviews a variety of guests and talks about various topics and issues.
They often focus only on making the guest feel uncomfortable. However, the show also focuses on raising awareness of some important global topics. For example, when Matt Damon came on the show as a guest, the conversation revolved around the global water crisis.
Getting Mentioned on Family Guy
What is success? Success is subjective, and everyone has a different definition of success. But if you are a Hollywood movie star, being mentioned in the popular sitcom Family Guy is surely a definitive feat. It signifies that you have now reached the greater masses.
Milana Vayntrub was mentioned in the Family Guy episode “A House Full of Peters.” In that episode, Peter asks his wife how he can find the actual name of the actress who plays the role of Lily, the AT&T girl. His wife responds by saying she has short-listed the names of all the possible actresses she can be and pasted it on the refrigerator.
Always Comfortable on Screen
When was the first time Milana Vayntrub made her debut on TV? The answers can be very confusing. She was captured in a video when she was two years old. In the video footage, we see her having fun at the beach with her father.
The video was captured right before her family moved to the United States. The video also contains some footage during the family’s stay in Italy when they were waiting for the final approvals for their visas. Even at that young age, Milana Vayntrub could speak multiple languages.
A Range of Voice Roles
The AT&T commercials surely made Milana Vayntrub famous, but several of her voice-acting roles pushed her to success. She used her voice in a cartoon show called Robot Chicken that aired in 2005.
Milana Vayntrub played the role of Helen Henny in the show. A few years later, she used her voice on the show Immigrants. And then we have the show Squirrel Girl produced by Marvel Studios. She even had the voice role of AT&T’s Lily at one point in her career.
She Didn’t Expect the AT&T Role
Milana Vayntrub did not expect to be cast for the role of Lily in AT&T’s commercials. It was a complete shock when she heard the news that she was chosen to play the part. She had done many auditions for TV commercials, and she thought this one would be no different.
On the day of her audition, she was feeling sick. She had to wait long hours for her turn to come. At one point Milana Vayntrub was so frustrated that she started crying. However, little did she know that everything was about to change.
She Was the Perfect Fit
For some reason, Milana Vayntrub spent most of the time at the AT&T tryouts crying in the waiting room. She even remembers being so frustrated that at one point she wanted to get up and walk right out the door. But thankfully she didn’t.
Right after her audition, the exes were sold on her personality. They invited her to come back for a screen test. After they filmed the first commercial, they still had some misgivings, but after it aired, it was clear that Milana was the best pick for the role of Lily.
She’s Done Plenty of Modeling
Milana Vayntrub has also done some modeling, doing many shoots for top magazines. Recently she did a shoot for Dopeness magazine. You can find the magazine on their official website that features Milana with the title “Milana Vayntrub: The Life of the Party.”
It is full of colorful images, and you can uncategorically say that Milana is truly the life of the party. She was asked whether or not she liked her time during the shoot. She said she did enjoy the shoot but had just one issue. Since the shoot took place in New York, she was expecting some good pizza. She was disappointed when she was served some bad-tasting pizza with rubbery cheese.
Getting to Know Many Stars
Milana Vayntrub has had a very long and successful career. During her long career, she has had the chance to share the screen with many talented actors such as George Clooney and Matt Damon. If this isn’t enough, Milana even had the chance to share the screen with worldwide popular celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
She shared the screen with Gordon for an AT&T commercial. According to an interview, Milana said it was one of those shoots that she enjoyed the most in recent times.
Who Knows What She’ll Do Next?
Is there anything that Milana Vayntrub cannot do? Well, as it turns out, Milana is full of natural talent. She is a person who never shies away from new challenges. She faces new life challenges head on. And who knows how far her newfound career as a director will go?
Milana has done voice-acting, stand-up comedy, TV shows, modeling, films, and even full-fledged movies. She has even appeared in several music videos. There seems to be nothing she can’t do, and we can’t wait to see where her career goes from here and what she does next.