What you didn't know about the AT&T commercial girl
Everybody loves Lily, AT&T's perky, enthusiastic commercial spokeswoman. At this point, she's almost like a member of the family. Based on her TV ads, we got to know her so well; she's nerdy and awkward, a hopeless romantic, and she likes bedazzling. But how much do you actually know about the actress who plays Lily in those ubiquitous commercials? Well, we'll change that right now with this look at what you don't know about the AT&T commercial girl.
Her real name is Milana Vayntrub
Yes, this might blow your mind, but Lily's name isn't Lily at all. No, it's actually Milana Aleksandrovna Vayntrub. 28-year-old Milana was actually born in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, or what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan, to be precise. You know what they say: give us your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses yearning to become Hollywood pop culture sensations.
She's a political refugee
Life in the USSR wasn't exactly sunshine and rainbows for Vayntrub's family, especially because they faced persistent religious persecution for being Jewish in a country that was officially atheist. When Vayntrub was just two years old, her family fled Uzbekistan in hopes of finding religious freedom and political asylum in America. The process was long and grueling, with the family stranded in both Austria and Italy for a while. Luckily, the Vayntrubs made it to America and settled in California, which sounds like a wonderful step up to us.
She starred on ER at 8 years old
Lily the enthusiastic AT&T employee may be relatively new, but it's hardly the first character Vayntrub ever played in a commercial. In fact, she began acting in TV ads at the age of just five years old, starring in Barbie commercials to help her family make ends meet. Her first big break happened in 1995, when Vayntrub landed a guest spot on the classic hit TV drama ER, where she appeared alongside stars like Julianna Margulies at the precocious and precious age of eight!
She's a high school dropout
Vayntrub attended Beverly Hills High School, but while that sounds like the peak of the American dream for teenagers, she dropped out as a sophomore. It wasn't because she didn't think an education was important. Quite the opposite: she wanted to advance through her education faster. Vayntrub quickly got her GED and moved on to the University of San Diego where she earned a degree in communication—an appropriate degree considering she's known for selling AT&T products.
Doing comedy with the Upright Citizen's Brigade
The Upright Citizen's Brigade is one of the most famous comedy troupes in show business, boasting alumni such as Amy Poehler, Adam McKay, Matt Walsh, and Horatio Sanz. Well, you can sort of add another name to that list, because Vayntrub trained with the UCB as well! She may not have made Saturday Night Live just yet, but her work with the Upright Citizen's Brigade helps explain her expert comedic timing in those AT&T commercials.
She was a YouTube sensation
Over the past couple of years, Vayntrub has guest starred on a number of TV shows, including Key and Peele, Californication, and Silicon Valley. Before those shows and before she landed the role of Lily, she rose to prominence through a different channel—a YouTube channel to be precise. As one of the co-creators of Live Prude Girls, Vayntrub was an early YouTube sensation, with each of her videos racking up hundreds of thousands of views. The channel is dormant now, but if you want a sneak peek at life before Lily, you can still watch Vayntrub's hit videos online. Bonus points if you watch it from an AT&T device!
She started a viral movement to help other refugees
While many celebrities are busy worrying about how to make their next headline or land their next gig, Vayntrub has been trying to figure out how to change the world. The result? The Can't Do Nothing movement, which has spurred nearly a quarter of a million people worldwide to use social media to help crusade for the rights of refugees around the globe. Saving the world by using your AT&T phone to record YouTube videos of yourself helping refugees? That's just the kind of moment Lily would absolutely love.