You have probably seen in recent months the build-up to removing plastic straws from public spaces, and California has officially become the first state to ban full-service restaurants from using plastic straws with their drinks. Therefore, if you live in the Golden State, it is time to say bye bye to the plastic straw.
Governor Jerry Brown of California recently signed the law banning restaurants from handing out straws, and customers will now have to ask the wait staff if they wish to use a straw for their drink. Brown’s decision to sign the ban after he argued that the inconvenience of asking for a straw holds no comparison to the damage a single-use plastic straw could have on our planet.
“Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences,” Brown said. “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, Brown referenced a pilot whale that had been washed ashore in Thailand after it was unable to digest its food having consumed over 80 plastic bags. Unfortunately, the whale later died. For Brown, this is worse than customers not being given a straw by their server.
Of course, servers tips can suffer if guests leave unhappy, and Brown spoke directly about this point. “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products,” argued Brown.
There is some time before Californian diners can adjust to the new law, with the law only going into effect on January 1, 2019. Currently, this law will only affect full-service dining establishments, therefore excluding cafes, juice bars, delis, and corner stores.
Over the past few decades, many companies have doubled down on having a specific spokesperson. You have Flo from Progressive and, of course, Lily from the AT&T ads. Like Flo before her, Lily Adams has become synonymous with her brand, so much so that many people want to know more about the woman behind the character. So here are some interesting facts that you never knew about Lily from the AT&T ads.
Lily Premiered in 2013
Milana Vayntrub made her first debut as the spokesperson for AT&T back in 2013. It’s hard to believe that she has been playing this role for eight years now! The actress must have had no idea when she did her first commercial years prior that she would have this unique and long-standing job.
Her character as Lily was a prominent feature from 2013 until 2016. Then she disappeared but made a comeback in 2020 and was still as recognizable as she was before. Give it up for AT&T’s Lily!
Milana is not just Lily from AT&T, she is an acclaimed actress with quite the IMDB resume. In fact, her first major credit goes all the way back to 1995 when she did a three-episode arc on one of the most popular shows at the time.
Milana played Tatiana on ER. The role had her playing a sick child opposite some pretty big actors… Yes, that means she got to work with George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. Young Milana was enamored with Clooney and always wanted him to come over to her house.
When she grew up a bit, she moved on to work in one of the biggest studios on the planet, especially when it comes to child actors. Her next big role was on Lizzie McGuire. This was a big deal for Milana as it put her in the orbit of Disney.
The role may not have been the most flattering as her character was known as the ‘cute burper.’ Even so, the fact that she worked on the show for a year still was enough to cement her career as a teen actress.
Philanthropist for Refugees
Though she has a lot of credits on her professional resume, one of the achievements she is most proud of is her work with Syrian refugees. She and her family’s experience being political refugees gave her insight into the issue, and she wanted to help.
Milana raised a lot of money for the cause and was proud to do so. The leaders of the cause even went on record, saying that the recognition she brought was priceless.
Harassment Via Social Media
Being in the public eye often means having to deal with trolls. These trolls can sometimes go too far, and over the years, Milana has had to deal with quite a lot of nastiness. So much so that she did an Instagram live stream last year talking about the harassment.
She spoke about why she thought there was harassment thrown her way, how it made her feel, and then this live stream was shared via Twitter for an even further reach and increased impact. She was commended for her vulnerability.
AT&T Stands Up for Her
In fact, the harassment was so prevalent and harmful that AT&T stood up for their spokesperson. The company released a statement condemning the actions of these nameless and faceless individuals.
The company also deleted or disabled any negative comments on all their social media accounts. This showed a sense of solidarity and care for their spokesperson, Miss Lily Adams.
A Hiatus Period
Like many child stars, there comes a time when the glow and fun of the career begin to disintegrate. This happened for Milana in her preteens and older teen years. The young actress started to heavily doubt if she wanted to be in this world of fame and constant attention.
So she took a little time off, to pursue her education and she was unsure at the time if she would ever return to the screen in any capacity. But eventually, she found her way back to it.
She Prioritized Her Education
When Milana entered middle school and high school, she realized just how important it was for her to get good grades and prioritize her education. Despite the fact she was already financially thriving, she still had a great desire to attend college one day.
So, she switched her focus to studying in school, which helped get her into a pretty good college. This time period off may have been just what she needed because she also started to miss her first love, acting.
The focus on studying allowed her to graduate early and head off to college. She was accepted into the University of California San Diego (UCSD). There she studied Communications which is one of the majors a lot of actors study.
As we have said, she began to feel a little nostalgic about her career and enrolled herself in some theater classes. She also worked on her improv skills which would later come in handy.
A Balancing Act
Sometime during college, she found herself being a little bored with her curriculum, so she began going out to auditions again. When she did, she remembered how much she loved the job.
She also thrived at the theater school at UCSD. She was able to balance her schedule with taking her schooling seriously and re-focusing on her craft. However, once she re-caught the acting bug properly, Milana soon started taking her acting career seriously again.
Everyone knows her for her roles in TV and movies, along with her recurring role as Lily for AT&T, but Milana is so much more talented than that. She decided she wanted to let people and her fans know this in 2020.
So she made a post on Instagram letting people know she had also been directing for seven years. Some of these credits include AT&T commercials, CollegeHumor Originals, and the Let’s Talk About Something More Interesting videos.
She Also Writes
On top of being a director, Milana also has done a bit of writing. Extending her love of creativity, she has done some episodes for a couple of shows, including one pretty big one. She has credits as a writer on several episodes of CollegeHumor Originals.
On top of that, she has written four episodes of the popular Adult Swim show, Robot Chicken. Plus, she was a co-writer on a project called Mother’s Little Helpers in 2019.
Using Her Voice
On top of acting and directing, Milana also is very socially active. We have already talked about her philanthropic activities, but she is also active in politics. She has used her social media platforms to promote voting by mail.
Also, she was a big supporter of Democratic candidates in Georgia during the 2021 run-off race. She uses her celebrity status to get the word out about things she cares most about.
Helping the Governor
Her political support didn’t just start in 2020. In fact, she was a big supporter of Stacey Abrams and her run for Governor of Georgia back in 2018. She supported her so much that she actually did some work with her.
This talented actress-writer and director understands that she has an influential platform and wants to promote her views responsibly. One thing is for sure, the more you learn about Milana Vayntrub, the more you’ll be impressed by this young woman.
She Started With a Phone Ad
Like all young actresses, Milana hoped she would land a big role on a big TV show that would launch her career. But before she could get there, she had to start somewhere, and like many others, that place was in commercials.
Funnily enough, one of her first commercial roles was in an advert for a telephone company. She was just five years old at the time and had no idea this was a teaser into the future of her career.
The Comedy Company
Where did Milana study improv? She joined a comedy company called Upright Citizens Brigade. This group has given the comedic world some of the biggest names in comedy right now. One of these names is Amy Poehler.
This group helped her really round out her improv skills which she would use as tools in her future and highly-successful projects. This includes her AT&T work as well as several others.
One of the projects where her improv skills shined was in a show called Live Prude Girls. This was actually a show that she and a friend posted on YouTube. They were so entertaining that they were viewed regularly across the globe.
It was an interview-like show where a celebrity would visit, and the two women would harass them nicely. Some of their guests included Bob Odenkirk and Matt Damon.
In 2016, she would get a role in one of the year’s summer blockbusters, the all-woman fronted Ghostbusters reboot. This was just one of the many film and television roles she was able to nab.
She also played a vampire in an episode of Key and Peele. Though the roles were minor, she still got to add some pretty big credits to her resume, which only helped her further her career.
Netflix Is Up
As her career kept growing, she was able to get some pretty substantial roles. One of these was in Judd Apatow’s Love which was streamed on Netflix. She had a more prominent part playing the evil ex of one of the good guys.
She also got a recurring role in Silicon Valley. There she played Tara for a few episodes, which helped her get her next and even bigger role.
This Is Us
In 2016 and 2017, one of the biggest hits on television was NBC’s This Is Us. Of all her roles (except for Lily), this was the one that Milana had the longest. She played one of the main characters’ love interests.
In total, she was on the show for eight episodes and her role was left in a way that if they wanted to bring her back at another time, they could. So who knows, maybe we will see Sloane back in the future? We really do hope!
Check Out That Yahoo! Screen
Milana also worked on a much-anticipated project for the Yahoo! Screen. This time it was for a science-fiction comedy called Other Space created by Paul Feig. Her character was a navigator that just wasn’t able to do her job right.
Unfortunately, the show wasn’t able to get up and running. That also meant the show was never aired. This show might have made her even more of a household name if it had aired.
In 2017, Milana was able to add another credit to her IMDB page. She ventured again into the world of voice acting, with one of the big names in animation – she got the chance to voice Squirrel Girl in Marvel’s New Warriors.
In a way, this role was her going full circle as Marvel is owned by Disney, and one of her first roles was on a hit Disney television show many years back!
In 2020, she returned to her role as Lily in several AT&T commercials. Though she had been gone for a while, busy doing other projects, it was like she never left when the ads graced our screens. She also did a stint in the series, Threads.
Along with that, Milana has also been dabbling in standup comedy. She has had sets at the New York Comedy Festival and even the Laugh Factory. Who knows what else this talented young woman will get up to next but one thing is for sure, her future looks bright!
Born in Uzbekistan
Born in 1987, right as the fall of communism was rife, her family’s lives changed almost overnight. In 1989, after enduring harsh social climates, they decided to move to America.
Due to the religious persecution in the country, her family applied to the US for political asylum. It took them a while, but eventually, they made their way to California after being stuck in Austria and Italy for a little while.
Moved to LA
Vayntrub and her family moved from the former soviet state of Uzbekistan when she was just two years old. The family’s final destination was LA, where they already had distant relatives living there, which helped make the transition easier.
The political and social situation in Uzbekistan limited the career opportunities and overall freedom for Milana’s family. So, once they were settled in the US, it opened up new doors for them. Taking acting classes was one of the benefits for young Milana.