If you’re familiar with the last decade of AT&T advertisements then you’re familiar with “Lily.” Milana Vayntrub is the actress behind the character, and she’s had to deal with some rough harassment online over the years. Here’s how she’s grown and changed as a result.
A Career Recap
Born in the USSR, Vayntrub emigrated from Uzbekistan as a two-year-old to escape antisemitism. She started acting almost immediately and landed a Barbie commercial at five. Her first official screen credit came in a short arc on ER in 1995. Her big break came in 2013 when she started portraying saleswoman Lily Adams for AT&T. Vayntrub was essentially the face of AT&T until 2016, then returned to the role in 2020. If you watch basic cable, you’re bound to see Vayntrub every ten minutes or so.
The exposure certainly helped Vayntrub’s career grow. She did a season of This is Us, and appeared in the Quibi series Die Hart. Most recently, Vayntrub starred in Werewolves Within, a horror-comedy that set the record for highest-rated critic scores for any film based on a video game. Not too shabby.
Violent Sexual Comments
The attention from AT&T turned Vayntrub into a public figure, and that sadly means she’s had to deal with online harassment. In an interview with Insider, she opened up about the horrific comments directed toward her because of her AT&T commercials.
Vayntrub said, “I wasn’t upset because people shared their opinions on my appearance, but I said something because just by showing up to do my job, I received unwanted sexual and violent comments about my body and what people want to do to it.” She scoffed at the idea it was her “job to avoid being harassed.”
Not Her Job To Avoid Anything
“Like so many women and so many nonbinary people, I’m expected to go to unreasonable lengths to avoid harassment,” Vayntrub added. She said it can be worse for people of color as well. They’re bound to face racial slurs on top of violent and sexual comments. She did receive support from AT&T amid the harassment.
She’s now forced to consider how her body looks in anything she ever does. “Of course I take into account how much skin I’m showing and whether I have a violent scene or a sexual scene, or honestly, whether I’m showing my feet or not, because it becomes a conversation about the way that I’m treated online,” Vayntrub said. This is the horrible reality of being a woman online and we hope more people like her speak out about it.
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