The Reasons Why People Love Milana Vayntrub, Aka Lily From AT&T

People might know Milana Vayntrub by another name, Lily Adams from AT&T. From 2013 to 2016 and after being re-introduced in 2020, Lily has pretty much been the telephone provider’s staple commercial character.

But Milana is so much more than that single character. She’s also an accomplished actress, comedian, and activist! Keep reading; it’s not hard to see why people are crazy over the actress.

Milana Vayntrub’s Net Worth: $3 Million

GettyImages-1137211347
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Milana Vayntrub got the acting bug early, appearing in Barbie commercials at the age of five and moving on to small roles in hit series such as ER, Lizzie McGuire, and even Days of Our Lives.

Of course, Milana’s biggest break came when she landed the role of Lily Adams, the girl from AT&T, in 2013. Combining all of her acting job paychecks, Milana has made a very decent living for herself. As of 2021, she has a net worth of $3 million.

Comedy Is Second Nature

While she’s known for her work with AT&T, Milana Vayntrub is so much more than a pretty face named Lily Adams. The actress actually has some top-notch comedic chops! Not only did she appear in the comedy series Silicon Valley, but she was asked to join the cast of CollegeHumor.

The creators of the internet program enjoyed her comedy so much that they asked her to star in 15 episodes.

“All Animals All The Time”

If there is one personality trait people should know about Milana Vayntrub, it’s that she is a hard-core animal lover whose motto in life is “all animals all the time.” While her activist work is not necessarily based around cute critters, her social media pages are absolutely full of her fuzzy friends.

On her accounts, she’s often seen posing with her dogs, cats, and advocating for shelters that have animals open for adoption.

While She’s Beautiful, She’s Not A Fan Of The Beauty Industry

While She's Beautiful, She's Not A Fan Of The Beauty Industry
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Milana Vayntrub is a beautiful woman. And while she is in the entertainment industry, she really wants nothing to do with the beauty industry. It’s one of the reasons why people will never see her modeling a perfume or advertising for couture.

Instead of getting swept up in the world of modeling, Milana’s opted to stick to the things she loves: her activist work and her comedy.

She Does Stand-Up Comedy In Her Spare Time

With her witty one-liners as Lily Adams in AT&T commercials, it’s easy to see that Milana Vayntrub has a way with comedy. She makes it look easy, almost effortless in her delivery.

Being able to deliver jokes flawlessly while laughing at herself makes her a perfect person to take the stage at comedy clubs. And she does! Milana is all about doing stand-up comedy when she isn’t busy filming for various commercials and television shows.

Her Family Emigrated To The United States In 1989

While Milana is very active in American television, she wasn’t actually born in the country. Milana was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, a city that was part of the USSR, while she still lived there with her parents.

Milana’s family left the country, emigrating to the United States in 1989. At the time, the AT&T actress was only two years old. But it wasn’t a one-way trip. Her family lived in Vienna for three months and Italy for another nine before making it to America.

Her Parents Worked Very Hard

She Does Stand-Up Comedy In Her Spare Time
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

Milana and her family arrived in Los Angeles, California, in August of 1989. With the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, both of her parents found work. But it wasn’t easy. Milana was only two at the time, and her mom was working two jobs and going to school to become a registered nurse.

Her father was also working as a donut deliveryman, something she couldn’t complain about too much since he brought home donuts at the end of his shifts!

Milana Still Had A Great Childhood

Milana
Allen Berezovsky/WireImage
Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

Even though life in America was tiresome, with her parents working nonstop, Milana still had a great upbringing. Because her parents wanted her to live out the American Dream, they made sure they had enough money to send her away to summer camps, attend gymnastics lessons, and even go to private school.

Milana even got into acting from a young age, getting into some Mattel Barbie commercials. But this was mostly because her family needed some more income.

As A Kid, She Was Embarrassed Over A Beach Towel

Milana might look like a confident woman on television, but she wasn’t always standing in front of a camera. In fact, when she was younger, she was very self-conscious of people knowing she wasn’t from America, especially when it came to a silly beach towel.

While all of her friends had Disney towels, she had an orange and white striped one. To her, it was “a smoke signal alerting all potential friends that I was NOT. FROM. HERE.”

She Landed The Role Of A Lifetime In 2013

lily
AT&T
AT&T

Although her childhood was a bit of a circus, all of Milana’s hard work paid off. In 2013, she landed the role of Lily Adams, the quirky sales associate in AT&T commercials.

Finally, the phone provider had someone relatable representing their brand, and the fact that people couldn’t stop talking about Lily during the original campaign is a testament to her skills as an actress and the character. People loved her!

Hank Perlman Thinks Milana’s “Lily” Is Multi-Dimensional

lily
David Livingston/Getty Images
David Livingston/Getty Images

Milana won the role of AT&T’s Lily Adams in 2013 and director Hank Perlman couldn’t have been more thrilled with the casting decision. During an interview, Pearlman said, “I think Milana’s Lily resonates with audiences because she’s a multi-dimensional character in a way that’s rare for 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 Went To University And Then Studied Improv

Milana Went To University And Then Studied Improv
Greg Doherty/Getty Images
Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Milana wouldn’t have been able to get her foot into the entertainment industry if not for her parents. They worked tirelessly to make sure she had every opportunity available to a young person living in the United States.

Hey, they left Uzbekistan for a reason, right? Eventually, she went to study at the University of California, San Diego, earning a bachelor’s degree in communications. Then, she went on to study improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Family Is Very Important

After traveling from Uzbekistan to the United States, her family became everything to Milana. They have been from a young age. And while she speaks very highly of her parents, there is another member of the family who she is very proud of, her younger sister.

On social media, Milana bosted of her sister, saying, “My little sister graduated! Glad she finally got a hat to cover her enormous brain.”

Social Media Is Her Platform To Advocate For Refugees

With many causes close to her heart, Milana has taken her celebrity status and used it to further her favorite causes on social media. One of the topics she is very open about discussing is better treatment and care for refugees coming into the country, as she and her family were once refugees.

Her openness and kind heart haven’t gone unnoticed. AT&T has said, “Milana’s passion for her cause is absolutely remarkable. We respect Milana’s personal interests outside of her role in our ads.”

Lily “Appeared” On Family Guy

Lily
Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images
Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

As a comedian herself, Milana was very excited when her AT&T character wound up in an episode of Family Guy. A fan of the show, her celebrity status reached new heights with the cameo appearance.

Well, it wasn’t a cameo, per se. It was more of “Lily from AT&T” being written on a list on Peter and Lois’s refrigerator. The sketch was of the two characters talking about good-looking characters they’ve seen in commercials.

Roommates Enemies Was A Stepping Stone

Roommates Enemies
WJason LaVeris/FilmMagic
WJason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Before people got to know her as Lily Adams, Milana was in three episodes of Roommates Enemies, playing the role of Denise. This was good for the young actress, as she was still trying to get her foot into the entertainment industry in more long-term projects.

Still, it was helping her pay the bills, and the role was great stepping stones to bigger and better things right around the corner, such as a pivotal role in AT&T’s newest campaign.

She Was The Definition Of A Working Actress

At the start of her career, Milana wasn’t a big name by any stretch of the imagination. She was what could be considered the textbook definition of a working actress, hopping to one project after the other and not exactly receiving the biggest paychecks for her time and effort.

Still, she was paying her dues and waiting for that one role to come around and give her the big break she’d been waiting for.

She Had A Two-Episode Role On Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley
HBO
HBO

While she did appear in Days of Our Lives and ER when she was a kid, it took a few years before Milana appeared in another award-winning series. In 2016, Milana landed a two-episode role as the character Tara in the HBO series Silicon Valley.

Her brand of comedy meshed perfectly with the other characters in the show, making her a welcome addition, even if it was for a very short amount of time.

This Is Us Gained Milana A Lot Of Attention

From 2016-2017, Milana gained the attention of a ton of people, even those who didn’t know her as Lily from AT&T. She appeared in eight episodes of the multi-Emmy Award-winning series This is Us.

In the show, Milana played the role of theater director Sloane Sandburg. Amazingly, the character became the love interest of one of the main characters, giving Milana a ton of screen time while allowing the public to get a chance to admire her acting skills.

She’s Very Humble And Appreciates Other Actors’ Work

FOX Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX And National Geographic 69th Primetime Emmy Awards After Party - Arrivals
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

When Milana landed a one-episode role in Californication, she was very excited. Not only was she able to add the appearance to her growing resume, but she was about to work with an actor who she deeply admired, David Duchovny.

Not a big name by any means, Milana was humbled to be able to work alongside someone who brought the character of FBI agent Fox Mulder to life in The X-Files.

In 2015, She Became Part Of The Other Space Main Cast

The role of Tina Shukshin in Other Space came to Milana in 2015. That year, she impersonated an inexperienced space explorer as one of the main cast members, her first role as one of the star actors.

While the show one ran for a single season of eight episodes, the role was a perfect fit for Milana. It was full of comedy and wit, two things that were right up the actress’s alley!

She Was Very Active In Hollywood During The ’90s and 2000s

Milana might be known for her AT&T persona and her various acting roles throughout the 2010s but the truth is she was very active in the entertainment industry before all that. Her first acting credit is actually from her 1995 role in ER.

The following year, she appeared in three episodes of Days of Our Lives. Then, from 2000-2001, she appeared in three episodes of the wildly popular tween sitcom Lizzie McGuire.

She Invited George Clooney Over For Dinner

During her first television appearance, Milana was lucky enough to land a role on the hit series ER. It might have only been a three-episode deal, but that was plenty of time for the young actress to invite lead actor George Clooney over to dinner.

During an interview, Milana said, “he was amazing. I just kept trying to invite him over.” He even agreed, saying, “Yeah, I’ll come over for a playdate.”

2016 Was Her First Film Credit

Ghostbusters
Sony Pictures Releasing
Sony Pictures Releasing

Up until 2016, Milana’s resume was filled with small roles in television shows, shorts, and even some TV movies. But nowhere did it say anything about a feature film. Well, that all changed in 2016 when she landed a very small role in the Ghostbusters reboot.

In the film, she’s credited as the “Subway Rat Woman.” It’s not the most glamorous credit, but all actors have to start somewhere, even if it is in a subway dealing with rats.

She Worked With J.K. Simmons In 2017

After years of television show appearances and TV movies, in 2017, Milana finally got her foot firmly into the film industry. That year, she landed the small role of Terri Sadler in the comedy-drama All Nighter.

While she didn’t have a huge role, Milana still had the privilege of working alongside J.K. Simmons and Emile Hirsch. And it also opened the door to other film opportunities in the future, such as Mother’s Little Helpers in 2019.

She’s Part Of The Marvel Rising Family

Squirrel Girl
Marvel Animation
Marvel Animation

It seems as though every major actor is in some sort of Marvel movie or television show. Well, it’s time to include Milana in that group because she’s actually been part of the Marvel Rising family since 2018.

That year, she was cast to voice Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, in the animated series Marvel Rising: Initiation. Since 2018, Milana has reprised the character multiple times, in both spin-off series and a few television movies.

Karmic Duty And Giving Back To Those Who’ve Helped Her

Milana might play a superhero squirrel-girl on screen, but she had her own superhero when her family first arrived in America. The organization HIAS was pretty much their guardian angel, paying for their health insurance and even educational programs.

Now, Milana is giving back. During an interview, she said, “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.”

Helping Other People Is Second Nature

She might be an actress, but Milana is all about helping people. Being a refugee as a young kid has made her very open to other people’s hardships. Even when she’s on vacation, she does what she can to help those in need.

In fact, while vacationing in Greece in 2016, Milana decided to fly to Lesbos, an island where many Syrian refugees were camped. During her time there, she helped families travel to registration camps.

#Can’tDoNothing Was Formed

After her trip to Greece, Milana found herself back in the United States with an urge to help the refugees stuck on the island. So, she founded the social media movement “Can’t Do Nothing.”

The concept behind the movement was to educate the public on the European migrant crisis. She listed websites where people could donate money and share their voices regarding the issues happening in Syria and other parts of the world.

She Loves Creating And Would Love A Chance To Direct

She Loves Creating And Would Love A Chance To Direct
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

As an actress, comedian, and activist, it’s clear that Milana is a woman of many trades. But if there is one thing she hasn’t had the opportunity to do and would love a chance at is directing.

During an interview, Milana said, “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.”

The Perfect Speaker For Different Generations

Through the years, Milana has gained quite the following on her social media accounts. There’s even a Reddit page solely dedicated to Milana Vayntrub and Lily Adams content. Honestly, when Reddit users go out of their way to make singular pages about a celebrity, that’s when the celebrity’s “made it.”

It helps that her specific brand of humor is a bit self-deprecating, making it easy for people across generations to enjoy her work.

Milana Grew Up In A Russian Household

Milana and her family moved to the United States in 1989. And while they definitely jumped headfirst into “the American way,” Milana’s parents still raised her in a traditional Russian household.

Not only did they speak Russian while in the household but the family upheld a lot of their Russian traditions, as well. Even later in life, Milana’s parents spoke to her mainly using their native language. They held onto their roots.

#CantDoNothing Is Meant To Create A Ripple Effect

Milana created #CantDoNothing in 2016, and her main goal was to create a ripple effect across social media, bringing awareness to the hardships refugees face across the globe.

On the Can’t Do Nothing website, they discuss the campaign’s mission, stating that it’s “designed to help everyday individuals have a real positive impact and assist refugees worldwide…#CantDoNothing is focused on helping each and every person effect real change.” As of 2021, there are over two million people who “can’t do nothing.”

Comedy Was One Of Her Strong Suits Early On

According to an interview the AT&T actress did with Esquire, she knew she had some comedic talent early on in her life and that it would be a possible career path. During the interview, she said, “Comedy came early. I knew when I was a kid that I was silly, and I knew that I liked people who were funny.”

As it turns out, she became one of those funny people she admired in her youth.

Lily Is Pretty Much Her Alter Ego

Lily
AT&T
AT&T

It’s a good thing Milana has a great sense of humor, or the fact that people generally recognize her as nothing more than Lily Adams was surely going to get to her eventually. The thing is, she’s fully aware that a solid chunk of her fame is because of the character.

Even so, she has a lot to be thankful for. Lily has helped bring her name to new heights in the industry, after all!

Technically, Her First TV Appearance Was In Italy

Milana’s first IMDb credit might read ER, but technically speaking, her first time on television was while she was a refugee in Italy. At the age of two, she and her parents were interviewed by a news outlet.

During the interview, they were asked where they were going. When asked by the reporter, a very cute Milana answered, “America.” Little did the young girl know, but that wasn’t going to be her last time in front of a camera.

Her Father Helped Her Find Her Advocacy Niche

Milana
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP

With her family’s history, it’s no wonder Milana got very close to her parents growing up, especially her father. It was actually during a trip to Greece with her father that she found something she felt truly passionate about and want to take the time to advocate for: the refugee crisis.

During the trip, she learned first-hand about the Syrian refugee crisis and wasted no time volunteering on the island of Lesbos.

A Boy Made Her Do It

Milana went on to study at the University of California, San Diego, but before that, she dropped out of high school and earned her GED. When asked about her choice to drop out, Milana’s answer is simple: “I wanted to be an artist.”

Of course, not everything is what it seems, and she actually had another reason for leaving high school. According to the actress, her then-boyfriend persuaded her to drop out! Thankfully, she didn’t like high school that much anyway.

Is This The Last Commercial?

According to Milana, her role as Lily from AT&T started as nothing more than a typical “run-of-the-mill audition.” Then, she got the part, filming the first commercial in 2013. At first, they had no intention of making her character the face of a new campaign.

Then, she got a callback, asking her to do another commercial. During an interview, Milana said that each time they finished an ad, she thought it would be the last. But they kept calling her back for more!

Acting Almost Got The Boot

In her teen years, Milana thought long and hard about her future in the entertainment industry. In fact, she almost decided to give it all up. During an interview with Dopeness magazine, she said, “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.” Thankfully, she wound up sticking with the craft.