The girl we all know as Lily from AT&T has much more than just a perky personality and enthusiastic smile.
After her commercial appearances, she became much more well-known thanks to higher-profile roles in TV shows. When she’s not working as an actress and comedian, Milana spends her time as an activist for refugees and uses her social media presence and fame to make sure that others see the importance of the causes she holds near and dear to her heart.
Speaking about her activism and comedy, Milana said, “People are really waking up to global responsibility, especially our generation, and I think the internet has a big part in it. I think it’s maybe just a time of so much strife in the world that it’s hard to ignore. Then there are brilliant comedians that make it something digestible but also infuriating.
So yeah, I think entertainment and activism go very much hand in hand. Though I don’t want to say it’s an entertainer’s responsibility to also be an activist. I don’t even really think of myself as an activist. I just feel very passionate about these people who are going through a hard time.” While the world knows her as Lily Adams from AT&T, you can say that you know her as a person, too (well, after you read this article, of course). You recognize her from the AT&T commercials, but it’s Milana Vayntrub who’s making Lily a reality.
Milana brought us the character of Lily, the not very helpful but hilarious AT&T store clerk. And what makes her stand out above the rest is her innate ability to have us actually remember her after the commercial was over.
When you look like Milana, chances are you’re going to at least dabble in modeling, especially if you live in the model hub of Los Angeles.
While Milana has an innocent look to her, her comedic style is far from it. Milana was a part of the web series CollegeHumor Originals from 2011 to 2014, appearing in a total of 15 episodes.
She Was on ‘Californication’
In 2014, Milana spent a few days filming an episode for ‘Californication.’ For those who aren’t aware of the insanely popular TV show ‘Californication,’ it aired from 2007 to 2014.
The show starred former ‘X-Files’ lead actor David Duchovny and was a rather unwholesome piece of television. Milana landed a small part in one episode, but she said how she loved every minute of it – being on the set and working with David.
Her First Television Role
Milana’s first role on television dates back to the mid-90s. She was on the series ‘ER’ back in 1995.
Vayntrub played the role of Tatiana on ER for three episodes, and people noticed her right away. Acting came easy to her, and she fell in love with the craft. But her first acting role ever was in 1993 in TV commercials, yet they came and went without much notice. Her parents put her in the industry to help support their financial state at the time.
What’s Her Net Worth?
Milana’s current net worth is estimated at $500,000. But keep in mind that Milana has only recently gotten the bigger roles in TV shows, so it makes sense that her net worth is this ‘low.’
And by low, it means compared to other Hollywood actresses. There’s no doubt that she’s going to be making a lot more money in the future with her talent.
She Was Also on ‘Silicon Valley’
From 2014 to 2016, Milana had a recurring role as Tara in the sitcom ‘Silicon Valley.’ The show’s about a group of young men who founded a startup company together in Silicon Valley.
The series is on the HBO network and is still going strong to this day. While Milana’s role was quite small, her comedic vibe meshed well with the show as a whole. The show itself has its own satirical format, even though it has some serious underlying themes.
Must Love Dogs
Milana is first and foremost an animal lover. Her motto is All animals all the time.
Here she’s hanging out with her dogs, and her social media pages are also filled with cats and other adorable animals that either need a home or are just hers to brag about. If you look at her Instagram, you’ll see both photos of dogs who ‘modeling’ and dogs who are sound department canines.
“Hi, How Can I Help You?”
In 2013, Milana struck gold when she landed the role of Lily Adams from AT&T, which got her foot in the door. As soon as the commercial aired, everyone wanted to know who Lily really is.
From the commercials, we get to know a funny but less helpful sale associate. And not only did people remember the AT&T brand, but they also couldn’t take their minds off of Lily.
Hank Perlman, the director of ‘Hungry Man,’ said, “I think Milana’s Lily resonates with audiences because she’s a multi-dimensional character in a way that’s rare for commercials.”
Perlman directed most of the AT&T commercials. “We try as hard as we can not only to make her funny but to make her as strong, smart, and human as possible. And hopefully, all of that makes her as relatable as a character in a 30-second commercial can be.”
Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on March 8, 1987. At the time, Uzbekistan was part soon dissolving the Soviet Union.
Her parents decided to take then-three-year-old Milana and flee Tashkent, for fear of religious persecution for being Jewish. The Vayntrub family first went to Austria, then Italy (where they waited for final permission to go to the United States). They arrived in West Hollywood, California in 1990.
On the Run
Milana and her family landed in the United States when she was just three. They felt like they had to, for their own safety since they were being hunted down for being Jewish.
While it took some time, they finally managed to flee Eastern Europe and make it to America. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, shortly after they left.
To the Left, To the Left
On the left is Milana in one of the episodes of the show ‘Lizzie McGuire.’ She appeared on the show from 2001 to 2002 for three episodes as a dancer.
‘Lizzie McGuire’ was Milana’s third television appearance. In 1997, she was also on ‘Days of Our Lives’ for one episode. She was getting minor roles on television shows and was slowly earning herself an acting portfolio.
Milana said of her parents coming to the United States, “Once here, my parents worked their butts off to give me a good education and upbringing…
They did a great job.” They were a wonderful example, showing her how hard work can pay off and provide a life that is both respectable and fulfilling. Milana took what she learned from her parents and made it her own.
‘Roommates Enemies’ was the name of a series that Vayntrub was in from 2012 to 2013. She played the part of Denise for three episodes.
At that point, Milana was gaining some traction with her acting, and her name was going around throughout the industry. While she might not be the biggest name out there, she is a steady working actress, and that’s more than most aspiring actors can say.
Her Sister’s Keeper
Milana is a proud older sister. Her little sister is much younger than her, but the two look very similar.
She posted a photo of her sister on Instagram with the caption: “My little sister graduated! Glad she finally got a hat to cover her enormous brain.” Milana was always a family-oriented person and put her family first, especially after all they went through.
A Good Sense of Humor
Milana is clearly a person with a good sense of humor. She’s a joker and a comedian. She loves making fun of herself as well as others (in the best way possible, obviously).
She’s a standup comedian, TV star, and likely to be a film star too! Milana uses humor to get through to others. Her role as Lily made America realize who we have here; there’s no stopping her now.
Milana uses every media possible to get the word out about her career and her personal agenda of causes that are important to her.
And one of those causes is helping refugees. She’s an activist who supports refugees in any way she can find. AT&T has been supportive by saying, “Milana’s passion for her cause is absolutely remarkable. We respect Milana’s personal interests outside of her role in our ads.”
Keeping Her Shape
Milana doesn’t really do much to keep her figure (lucky girl!). She is one of those people who are cool with how they look.
Milana isn’t promoting any product that will make you look better or worse; she’s not in that industry at all. She just focuses on her comedy and activism.
In Other Space
In 2015, Milana got a part in ‘Other Space’ and was part of the main cast. ‘Other Space’ was a show on Yahoo! Screen about a crew of inexperienced space explorers who venture through an unknown universe.
The show had only one season of 8 episodes. Milana played the role of Tina Shukshin in the science fiction sitcom, adding a much-needed kick of funny to the show.
This Is Us
A big game-changer for Milana in terms of public awareness of her was when she got a role on the hit television show ‘This Is Us.’
She played Sloane Sandburg in 2016 and appeared in eight episodes as the adorable theater director turned love interest for one of the main characters.
The All Nighter Film
After Milana has done her share of television work during her career, she started to move to film as of 2017. Milana was part of the cast of the movie ‘All Nighter.’
The film is about an estranged father who visits his daughter in Los Angeles, only to discover that she’s missing. He teams up with her ex-boyfriend to find her.
Her Recent Project
One of Milana’s latest projects was ‘Marvel’s New Warriors,’ a TV series where she plays the role of Doreen Green and Squirrel Girl. The show aired in 2018.
The plot: six young people with powers living and working together try to make a difference in the world. That means even if their powers are not quite as impressive as The Avengers. They will need to learn to use their abilities to help people while also dealing with the struggles of growing up.”
When Milana and her family came to the US, there was an organization that financed her family’s settlement.
Milana said, “We had a lot of help when we got to America. One of the organizations that helped us, they had a record of all the money they spent on us for our health care bills and education programs, and so my favorite thing that I’ve done is just pay them back because they invested in us. It’s my karmic duty to help them because we’ve been helped so much.”
Milana was on vacation with her dad in Greece when she decided to fly out to the island of Lesbos where Syrian refugees were coming in.
She wanted to help as best she could. Since she was a former refugee herself, the cause spoke to her on a deep level. Here, she’s in a car with a Syrian family, taking them to the registration camp from the boat they just came in on.
Milana is the co-founder of #CantDoNothing, an organization that raises awareness as well as funding for refugee crises around the world.
“It is important for us to emphasize not just the problem, but all the things we can do to end it,” she stated. “We hope everyone will post about #CantDoNothing on their social media, and challenge three friends to participate by tagging them. I really believe we all have to power to be influencers, to use our voice and create a ripple effect of Good.”
Milana is a comedian who talks about her own experiences on stage. On what she wants to do next, she said, “I would love to keep directing commercials. I love it so much.
I love working with brands and ad agencies and old white men who have been doing this for 60 years. I love creating challenging and opposing ideas and using that to make something bigger and better than just my brain, or just their brain could have come up with. The creative collaboration is my favorite thing.”
Milana is more than a pretty face and great actor; she also holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of California in San Diego.
She started college young as she dropped out of high school to get her GED when she was only 16. She used the knowledge she learned during her college years to create her organization.
Dedicated to Milana
There’s an entire Reddit page dedicated to her which covers everything Milana Vayntrub.
Many people are entranced by her, love how funny and self-deprecating she can be and want to follow everything she does. She has a talent for speaking to all generations as she is very relatable and real, unlike other stars who make it in Hollywood.
During an interview with InStyle magazine, Milana talked about her childhood.
She said, “My parents worked their butts off to afford private school, summer camp, and gymnastics classes (which I’m pretty sure is a prerequisite for all Russian kids) so that I could take part in everything this Promised Land had to offer.” She has always shown full appreciation of her parents and everything they did for her.
Feeling Like an Outsider
Milana has said of her childhood, that “Despite all their love and hard work, as a kid, I remember feeling as though I couldn’t culturally catch up to my peers. Especially when it came to beach towels—these really stupid, but really cool, but actually really stupid towels.
All my classmates owned these colorful beach towels with Disney characters on them. I desperately wanted one, but instead, I had this orange and white patterned thing, a glorified Slavic doily—that my parents brought with them from Uzbekistan. To me, it was a smoke signal alerting all potential friends that I was NOT. FROM. HERE.”
Proud of Her Heritage
This here is Milana’s and her mother’s visa they used to come to the United States. Milana was obviously too young to have her own visa, so she was pictured with her mother.
Milana was also too young to remember her home country, but she did grow up in a home where her Russian heritage was dominant. She would constantly hear the Russian language and still speaks it with her parents today.
In a Flash
The silly girl that Milana is, she loves playing around on her downtime. She loves to spend time with her equally funny friends and does hilarious things.
Recently, Milana flashed the world from inside her hotel room. It’s highly unlikely that anyone saw anything, but it was the thought that counts. And it gave her and her friends a laugh.
Her First Crush
When Milana was on ‘ER’ as the young Tatiana, George Clooney was also on set as the main actor.
She said of George, “It was also season one with George Clooney, and he was amazing. I just kept trying to invite him over. He was like, “Yeah, I’ll come over for a playdate.” I was like, “Mom! Can you cook something, so we have a reason for him to come over?” My mom and I were both just goo-goo-gaga over him.”
She Knew She Was Funny
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Milana was asked about when she realized she was funny and knew that it was a powerful thing.
She said, “Yes. Comedy came early. I knew when I was a kid that I was silly, and I knew that I liked people who were funny, but I don’t think I knew I was funny. I didn’t really think about it.”
She’s Fully Aware
In that same interview with Esquire, Milana said that she’s fully aware of what she’s most famous for.
She said, “Usually my AT&T commercials or my YouTube videos. Sometimes they’ll get introduced to me from the commercials, and they’ll go look me up and find my YouTube videos. Or they’ve been a fan for a while, and they’re really supportive of the commercials.”
Her thoughts on Sloane from ‘This is Us’: “Sloane is [really good at] making her dreams come true. Sure, she’s hit some road bumps and let her impulses distract her, but we’ve all been there.
The Christmas/Hanukkah episode meant a lot to me for so many reasons. When I was a kid, I learned about Passover from a cartoon called Rugrats, and it really stuck with me. I was excited to potentially teach people the story of Hanukkah. I’ve actually had a teacher tweet at me saying she’s using the scene in her classroom.”
Her fame is so big that she, or Lily from AT&T, was mentioned in an episode of ‘Family Guy.’
It went like this: Peter asks Louis where she keeps all the names of the good looking commercial stars’ names so he can find them and track them down. Louis says that the list is on the fridge.
Her First TV Appearance
When her family made their move from Tashkent to the United States, they stopped in Austria and Italy.
In Italy, the Vayntrub family was interviewed for a news segment. They were asked questions about where they came from and where they planned on going. They were in Italy waiting for approval and visas to move on to the United States. Here we see Milana on television with her dad.
Daddy’s Little Girl
Milana was always close to her parents, especially her father. She went with him to Greece for a vacation that ended up being a turning point in her life.
Milana stumbled upon the Syrian refugee crisis; one that she admitted she didn’t know much about at that point.
Her Twitter Account
Milana is funny and all, but her philanthropic work with her organization #CantDoNothing has been her biggest focal points in her life.
Her Twitter page has a nice balance of work in both comedy and acting. She also posts videos and articles about her organization. Milana is aware of how important social media is to get the word out about the organization.
Social Media Presence
Milana spoke of her use of social media for her cause: “I took to social media to spread the Can’t Do Nothing word, because the truth is if I see a burger, I want a burger.
If I see a kitten, I want to pet a kitten. My hope is that if you see someone doing good, you might want to do some good, too. And if we inspire each other, we can create a ripple effect of good.”
Her Latest Role
Milana’s latest role is Squirrel Girl in ‘Marvel’s New Warriors.’ Milana is very excited to play the legendary character, but the public is even more excited.
Little girls have been dressing up like Squirrel Girl. And not just little girls, but men dressed up as Squirrel Girl too and everyone at Comic-Con lost it when she came into the signings and Q&A sessions.
Why She Dropped Out
Milana said of why she dropped out: “I wanted to be an artist. I loved painting, photo-editing, and graphic design. Like at a lot of public schools, the arts program was limited, but my local community college had amazing teachers with a boatload of creative courses.
I didn’t like high school. I wanted more diversity, flexibility, and freedom. I got in trouble for talking, disagreeing with teachers, and cheating on tests pretty regularly. But the strongest driving force was probably that my boyfriend at the time had dropped out and I thought he was the smartest, coolest, hottest and best person in the world. So the most real answer is a boy.”
In an interview, Milana was asked about how she got her AT&T gig. She explained: “Just your old run-of-the-mill audition. Nobody had any plans of it being a campaign.
We shot the first one in November of 2013, and it started airing in December. When I was asked to come back to shoot more, I assumed it was my last time every time… but always hoped it wasn’t.”
In an interview with Dopeness magazine, Milana did a photo shoot that was just as colorful as her personality. She was asked questions about her career and personal life, which she answered in a very candid and witty way. Milana said, “Yeah, I always thought I’d be an actress because I got into it really young.
When I was five, I was already doing commercials, and by the twelve, I was awkward, chubby, and wanted out. The insecurities that come with being a teenager made me think that I wasn’t good enough or that a career in entertainment was unrealistic. It wasn’t until college that I rediscovered how much I loved acting, and it’s also how I made my closest friends.”
On Auditioning for Lily
When she went in for the audition, Milana said, “Yeah. I was actually having a bad day. I don’t remember why, but I was crying earlier and then had to sit in a waiting room for another 45 minutes.