Don’t miss the designs you like!
I guess most people would say, "Oh, this is the girl from the AT&T ads" after seeing this picture. Yeah, she is store manager "Lily Adams" in the AT&T commercials and is also actress Milana Vayntrub. Her latest ads for the same company caused a stir and her response showed the real person behind the smiles.
Milana Vayntrub played characters like Sloane in the hit series This Is Us and Squirrel Girl in the movie Marvel: New Warriors, yet she is most remembered as being the public face of AT&T for about five years. It is said that the ads were supposed to have featured her only once, but the company changed its mind.
The communication company's vice president revealed the reason to Ad Week magazine in 2016. She said, "The first spot was so successful for us that we thought, let's do another one and then another one and then another one. It was so well received that we kept bringing her back." Why were those ads so popular?
Milana's Lily is more relatable than other characters in ads because she is multi-dimensional. The Hungry Man agency made her funny and also strong, bright, and as human as possible. Besides, she is often younger than her customers in these commercials, which aligns with the ads' target demographic.
Some of her favorite ads may explain why she is so well liked. In one campaign, she served Dawson's Creek star James Beek, but didn't recognize him. Hilariously, the star was happy because he thought he'd got a bargain, but in fact it was just a regular price. In another, she whispers to customers to avoid waking up a baby. Most of her ads are well-received, but there is an exception.
A new AT&T ad featuring Milana Vayntrub aired during the NCAA Tournament. As always, Lily introduced her company's 5G technology with her quick wit and winsome smile. But this time, she stood behind a table that hid her lower body, which is different from her past commercials where she exposed her full figure to the camera. This apparent change triggered some speculation.
Since the ad's debut, Milana has received many comments that questioned the unexpected change in the ads. Rumor had it that she was pregnant, and that she wanted to keep it secret. Soon, unlike her persona in those ads, the AT&T lady gave a pretty emotional response on her Twitter.
"Been getting a lot of 'Why are they placing her body like that in those ads?'" The American actress tweeted on March 21st, "Well, I direct the ads. I place myself like that. And it's because of the thousands of unwelcome comments I receive about my body. You've lost the privilege of looking at it until I feel safe again." What did the "unwelcome comments" refer to?
Ms. Vayntrub has been the victim of online sexual harassment for months. Last year, she spoke out about the explicit comments and "milk" emojis she received, "I do not want any of this… I'm hurting... and it's bringing up a lot of feelings of sexual assault."
Many were concerned about whether Milana's blunt reply would harm her relationship with AT&T and its clientele. To Milana's relief, the telecommunication giant stood right behind her, saying, "We will not tolerate the inappropriate comments and harassment of Milana Vayntrub, the talented actor and director who portrays 'Lily' in our ads."
This isn't Milana's first time defending herself, or rather, her character "Lily." Comedian Amy Schumer once parodied her widely-circulated AT&T ads, which offended "Lily" herself.
In an interview with Ad Week, she opened up about her feelings after watching the sketch, "Ultimately, I have a real feminist issue with it. The way you're going to portray this character is that you're going to play her dumb? Well, that's lazy." Her deeper explanation went even further.
The AT&T lady felt uncomfortable about Ms. Schumer's portrayal of Lily. Though Milana and her team were devoted to making Lily strong, sharp, humorous, and independent, Schumer's version of Lily was more of a prop who seduced men rather than being a proud store manager.
Milana's outspokenness forged her another cause—activism. She initiated the "Can't Do Nothing" campaign with a documentary of the same name in 2016. She told her own story in the film to highlight the problems facing refugees, and now we know why she cares so deeply about the issue.
Only a few people know her exotic full name: Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub, and that she was born in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. The Vayntrubs are Jewish and faced harsh religious persecution in Uzbekistan. Subsequently, they managed to get political asylum in the US. Thanks to her parents' efforts, five-year-old Milana got her chance to become an actress.
Coincidentally, her first attempt at acting was to star in a phone company's ad. Later, E.R. featured her as a sick patient named Tatiana, opposite Julianna Margulies and George Clooney. The little girl was obsessed with Clooney, and this is a rare picture of them together.
Though everything went well in her early career, she was already thinking about other possibilities. She told Esquire magazine about her worries back then, "I should probably focus on something more realistic. This is probably not going to work out. I have high hopes, but that's probably not enough to make it in film."
Consequently, Milana decided to devote more time to her schooling. She passed her proficiency exam early and was admitted to the University of California, San Diego, and majored in communication. It looks like she was made for AT&T.
Meanwhile, she had been practicing her acting skills with the Upright Citizens Brigade and found her passion for improv. Thereafter she made good use of her talent in her Youtube channel "Live Prude Girls." Tens of thousands of viewers watched their hit videos.
Since then, she has returned to the acting field. She played a lot of minor roles until some bigger ones came her way. She appeared in Judd Apatow's Love, Silicon Valley, Marvel: New Warriors, and the top-rated, This Is Us.
However, the promising actress won't stop there. So far, she has tried everything from activism, acting and directing to voicing animated movies. Milana explained her diverse passions to Ad Week, "You're right in that they are all very different parts of my brain. And creativity, especially in improv, is about turning off a part of your brain to get rid of any kind of self-consciousness and allow things to pop in and through you."