Even if you do not know the actor Milana Vayntrub by name, you would still be able to identify her face.
Many people are probably more familiar with Milana Vayntrub as “Lily” from a ten-year run of AT&T advertisements. A recent profile of Vayntrub features her reflections on the highs and lows of her time as Lily.
At 26, she “dressed like I imagined a friendly girl would dress” for her character audition. Vayntrub herself proposed Lily’s return to AT&T when the pandemic struck.
Vayntrub herself guided the spots. Under the supervision of a professional, she recreated Lily’s hair and makeup while filming the national advertisements in her own home.”
However, returning to the public eye as AT&T’s face brought about some unanticipated consequences, chief among them being internet trolls’ unjustified attention and online sexual harassment.
The actress first worked for the company as a spokesperson in 2013, and over the years, she has intermittently played an AT&T salesperson.
Regretfully, over the past ten years, she has also been subjected to a great deal of body-shaming commentary, to the point where she has spoken out about it.
Vayntrub now discloses that another actress who is well-known for her commercial work contacted her to offer some assistance.
In an interview, Vayntrub provided additional details after previously disclosing that she had been the victim of online abuse regarding her appearance.
Stephanie Courtney, better known online as “Flo” from the Progressive Insurance commercials, called the AT&T actress spokesperson when the abuse she was receiving online got out of hand.
Vayntrub claimed that despite the negative attention she was receiving, Courtney was a sympathetic listener who helped her feel “like there were people on my team.”
In the world of advertising, Stephanie Courtney is undoubtedly well-known. She started playing Flo in Progressive advertisements back in 2008, following appearances in television series such as Mad Men and Cavemen.
Pete Davidson made fun of Flo in his “I am Just Ken” Barbie parody during his fall Saturday Night Live hosting, and Flo responded in kind. It makes sense that Vayntrub found solace in Courtney’s encouraging call!
After a hiatus, Vayntrub—who has starred in films such as Werewolves Within, Die Hart, and NBC’s—returned to the AT&T spokesperson role in 2020, albeit with some unwanted attention.
Vayntrub opened up about how she was “hurting” and “not consenting to any of this,” and AT&T disabled comments on at least one social media post because there were enough comments about her body.
At the time, AT&T released a statement in support, saying:
“We will not tolerate the inappropriate comments and harassment of Milana Vayntrub, the talented actor who portrays Lily in our ads. We have disabled or removed these comments on Lily’s social media posts, and we will keep fighting for her and our ideals, which value and respect all women.”
Sadly, the remarks did not end there. In 2021, she revealed that the “thousands of unwelcome comments I receive about my body” were the reason behind the direction of the most recent advertisements and her decision to place and dress a certain way.
Over the years, the entire situation has had various negative effects on her career, none of which she anticipated when she agreed to serve as a spokesperson for cell phone plans.
That is not to say that the criticism of her physique casts a shadow over her entire career. A little over a year after getting all dolled up to celebrate 2023, Milana Vayntrub needed to promote a short film on Instagram.
Pickled Herring, which she co-directed and starred in, had its summer premiere and played at several film festivals in the fall.
All we can hope for is that Milana Vayntrub’s career can advance without her appearance becoming a source of ongoing trolling. Thanks to Stephanie Courtney, at least she has another spokesperson to lean on!