The Real Reason Why Lily From AT&T Looks So Familiar

Lily Adams, AT&T's bubbly spokesperson, is played Milana Vayntrub, who has dozens of credits in television, film, and web series. While she is best known for her gig as Lily, most viewers may experience the nagging sensation that they've seen her somewhere else before, and chances are, they probably have!

In an interview with online personality Mike Koenigs, Vayntrub introduced herself by telling viewers, "You may know me as Lily from the AT&T commercials or from 'Love' on Netflix, or from 'This is Us.'" She joked, "I'm all over the place honestly." Vanytrub most certainly is all over the place; from commercials to Marvel projects, the multi-talented star has made a career out of versatility. Through her extensive appearances and recurring roles in media, Vayntrub has an estimated net worth of $3 million, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth. Here are some of the roles that you may have seen Vayntrub portray in her illustrious career.

Milana Vayntrub has been on TV since she was a kid

After her family fled from Uzbekistan and settled in Los Angeles (via NBC News), Milana Vayntrub starred in a series of commercials for Mattel's Barbie toys at age 5. In an interview with Collider, Vayntrub said, "We're like immigrants, and we're like 'I don't know, she talks too much. Put her in front of a camera!' We didn't know what we were doing."

It wasn't long before Vayntrub got the role of Tatiana in the first season of NBC's "ER." The role of Tatiana was a serious tonal change for the 8-year-old. The character was introduced in the episode "Make of Two Hearts," in which the young girl was revealed to have an AIDs diagnosis. Despite the dour tone of the role she was playing, Vayntrub fondly remembers her time on set. "Whenever I would get on set as a kid, I would get so energized, cause I was so happy to be there, that my mom would have to calm me down," she told Collider. Filming on the Warner Bros. studio lot was a dream come true for the 8-year-old; Vayntrub recalled a memory of watching George Clooney playing basketball with the actor who played Urkel in "Family Matters," Jaleel White. "Everything he did, I was just smitten," she said in regards to working alongside Clooney. "Everyone was; how could you not be?"

After "ER," Vanytrub also landed roles as a young Kristen Blake in "Days of Our Lives" and as background characters like "Cute Burper" in "Lizzie McGuire" (per IMDb).

The woman behind Lily from AT&T does stand-up

Milana Vayntrub is a versatile comedian both onscreen and off. Her career in comedy took off when she began studying with the Upright Citizens Brigade, a renowned improv comedy troupe co-founded by none other than Amy Poehler. At UCB, Vayntrub was working with some of the biggest names in comedy today. For context, notable alumni of UCB include Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino), Nick Kroll, and Aubrey Plaza. UCB is known for its live comedy shows, and die-hard fans of stand-up and improv may have seen Vayntrub perform in the early days of her acting career.

In an interview with Collider, Vayntrub explained how her time at UCB really helped her kick off her career as an actor. "Switching to comedy and becoming an improviser was, I think, for me, when I started to actually want to do this and have a career at it," she said. 

Vayntrub's roots in comedy led to a lot of other major collaborations down the line in her career. Her friendship with Beck Bennett of "SNL" fame is particularly interesting, as the two have led eerily similar paths. According to Vayntrub, she called Bennett before signing on with AT&T, as he had also played a recurring role in their commercials (via Box Angeles). They had also apparently worked at the same restaurant in Los Angeles, albeit at different times. Fans of Bennett and comedian Kyle Mooney's YouTube channel, "GoodNeighborStuff," may have even caught Vayntrub in their "toast" sketch.

She found success on YouTube

Once Milana Vayntrub had decided on pursuing acting full-time, she found herself frustrated by the casting processes and decided to create her own content rather than waiting for roles to come to her.

This drive for autonomy in the entertainment industry led to the creation of "Live Prude Girls," a web series on YouTube founded by Vayntrub and Stevie Nelson, whom she had met at auditions (via Box Angeles). The two built the widely successful channel by conducting interviews in a series called "Let's Talk About Something More Interesting." In the series, Vayntrub and Nelson would conduct painfully awkward interviews with other comedians and celebrities using their "Live Prude Girls" personas, which could be best described as ... prudish. The YouTube channel was a hit, generating millions of views. Their popularity eventually caught the attention of television networks like MTV. Unfortunately, MTV decided against picking up the show, thereby ending the series for good.

Despite the setback, Vayntrub's popularity was just beginning to take off. She booked her role as Lily for AT&T the day before she learned that MTV canceled the "Live Prude Girls" project, she told Box Angeles. It's clear the web show was one of her favorite projects in the entertainment industry, saying, "It's my pride and joy."

Vanytrub was involved with CollegeHumor and other sketch comedy shows

At Vidcon 2012, Milana Vayntrub told an interviewer that she was working on a project with CollegeHumor. Vayntrub was featured in several CollegeHumor videos from 2011 to 2014, including "If Google Was a Guy (Part 2)" and "Secret Girl Language." Vayntrub also has several writing credits for CollegeHumor's "Molly Made Me" series (via IMDb). Fans of CollegeHumor and sketch comedy would have more than likely seen Vayntrub at one point or another, as she flourished in this realm of comedy. And who could forget her? The actress is well known for her off-beat humor and cute mannerisms, which are abundantly featured in her collaborations with CollegeHumor.

Other notable sketch comedy shows Vayntrub appeared in include "Key & Peele," where she appeared in their "Sexy Vampires" sketch, and Comedy Central's "Making Fun with Akilah and Milana" shorts. Vayntrub also made an appearance in a Funny or Die sketch called "If There Was an Olympic Games for Depression." The variety of roles Vayntrub has played in sketch comedy showcase her versatility and skills in improv. From a sexy vampire to a bland reporter, Vayntrub is not afraid to show her range!

Another notable role for Vayntrub was in the interactive comedy "That Moment When" on Eko, a platform for interactive videos. IMDb credits Vayntrub with playing the character of Jill, who plays out the choices of viewers who are interacting with the story.

Vanytrub had a recurring role in This is Us as Sloane Sandberg

After a two-episode gig in Netflix's "Love" as Natalie, Gus' girlfriend (though not for long), Milana Vayntrub played the character of Sloane Sandburg in NBC's "This is Us," a family dramedy starring Mandy Moore as the head of the Pearson family (via IMDb). The series alternates between the Pearsons in the '80s and '90s as a young family and the Pearsons today with the kids in their late 30s. Through switching back and forth between the past and the present, this show takes an emotional look at how who we were affects who we are.

Vayntrub's character is a sweet and shy playwright that becomes a love interest for Kevin, the eldest of the Pearson siblings. Kevin Pearson is a troubled bachelor who has come home from his career as a television actor to find success and meaning elsewhere. He and Sloane play the leads in the play that she wrote, and things appear to be on the up-and-up for the oldest Pearson child. Unfortunately for the pair, they are characters in a family drama, and things quickly fall apart when Kevin's ex-girlfriend, Olivia, comes back into the picture. Sloane overhears Kevin telling Olivia that he's going to stay with Sloane because, "You got to do the right thing, even if it's not what you want." Yikes!

The awkward break-up was likely fortunate for Vayntrub and her career, although perhaps less fortunate for Sloane and Kevin.

Lily from the AT&T commercials had a leading role in Other Space

The sci-fi comedy "Other Space" followed a ragtag crew of astronauts as they embarked on a mission to further the universal mapping project. Milana Vayntrub played the character of Tina Shukshin, the crew's unhinged Navigator with pigtails and a penchant for violence. The show was created by Paul Feig, who wrote and directed the 2016 reboot of "Ghostbusters" starring Melissa McCarthy. Vayntrub played the bit-part role of "Subway Rat Woman" in "Ghostbusters," and several other members of the close-knit crew had small roles in the blockbuster as well (via IMDb).

In an interview with Box Angeles, Vayntrub said that Paul Feig, Neil Casey, and Eugene Cordero were some of her favorite people to work with in the span of her career. Cordero played Michael Newman, the ship's Second Officer, and Casey played Kent Woolworth, the crew's Science Officer. All members of the cast had strong background in improvisation and were even asked to loosely improvise monologues during auditions. "Let them augment and bring their personality, surprise each other on set," Feig said in an interview with SyFy Wire.

The show premiered on Yahoo! Screen's ill-fated streaming platform, fell into oblivion when the platform fell apart, and then finally found a home on the sci-fi streaming service, DUST. In his 2020 interview with SyFy Wire, Feig said, "For me, the perfect situation would be we get to make more seasons of it."

Vanytrub has voiced Squirrel Girl and nearly played her in a live-action show

Milana Vayntrub became the voice of Squirrel Girl in 2018 for the "Marvel Rising" animated series. Written by Mairghread Scott, a prominent writer in both the comic books industry and animation, the series follows Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel on what Scott described to IndieWire as a "buddy cop adventure." Squirrel Girl became a hit with fans after Ryan North's "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" comic series hit the shelves. Scott is especially fond of the character of Squirrel Girl, and told IndieWire that her favorite quality of the character was her "unbridled enthusiasm coupled with complete self confidence."

Vayntrub is also a big fan, and told Entertainment Weekly, "Squirrel Girl has always been my favorite Marvel character, so I do feel like I, a little bit, prayed this into reality." Fans were elated when Marvel announced they would be doing a live-action show with Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl for the "New Warriors" series which was set to air on Freeform. The show was pulled from the network before it could premiere and was canceled, leaving fans and cast members greatly disappointed (via Gizmodo). The showrunner Kevin Biegel alleged in a series of now-deleted tweets that a Marvel executive had canceled the show because it was too queer for television.

While Vayntrub's live action Squirrel Girl was taken too soon, it's always possible another project with Squirrel Girl could pop up again. There's still hope!

You may have seen her in Werewolves Within

The 2021 movie "Werewolves Within" is a film adaptation of the video game of the same title. In the small town of Beaverfield, Finn the park ranger and Cecily the postal worker must work together to find out who the werewolf plaguing the town is when a snowstorm traps everyone indoors for the night. The role of Finn is played by comedian Sam Richardson, and Cecily is played by Milana Vayntrub.

"I was excited by so many elements of it; one was just the cast. I just wanted to be in that company," she said in an interview with The A.V. Club. In an interview with Collider, Vayntrub and the film's director, Josh Ruben, were asked what they were most excited for audiences to see and experience while watching the comedy. Vayntrub answered, "Sam Richardson," and Ruben countered with, "Milana Vayntrub." Needless to say, Vayntrub delivers a knockout performance in the movie from IFC Films.

Vayntrub also delivers a layered performance as the female lead for the movie, and she told The A.V. Club, "I'm hoping that there will be lots of feminist discourse and arguments about who my character is and what the movie stands for ... because I certainly had those conversations in making it."