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The best thing about being the life of the party is that the party never stops, and at this very present time of her career Milana Vaytrub is delivering the wits, the fun, and the laughter to us at her own joyride!
Interview By: Sharif King
Creative Director: Bagio White
Photography By: Jean Pierre
"Whats with this rubbery ass pizza!" said Milana with a sinister yet playable smile as she took a bite of the pizza we had on the set. We all looked around with our eyes and body languages shrugging it off as typical New York pizza, although we have tasted better and so has she. As we finish assembling what seemed to be a rubbery filled propped shoot, I started to walk over to Milana to ask her if she'd enjoyed herself on set but then I stopped and we all watch as she did exactly that, enjoyed herself, with the inflatable animals and foods. At that point, there were no questions on whether she enjoyed the shoot. but I did have some questions to ask and we were all aching to know a little bit more about Milana.
Hey Milana how are you enjoying the shoot so far? These artists you guys brought on are genius. Look at my makeup. My face never looked this good. One complaint: New York is supposed to have great pizza and this is some rubbery ass cheese.
Thats awesome they're great, aren't they! Our bad on the pizza (laughs), but pizza aside do you mind if we pick your brain for a bit? You sound like a zombie, but that's fine (laughs).
Ok Let's dive right in! I'm ready. Bring it.
Being a young Milana, how was is growing up in your native country, Uzbekistan? Actually I grew up in LA. My family got here when I was two years old but LA is home.
What were some of the events that changed your life transitioning from Uzbekistan to the US? Honestly, I didn't feel the transition because I was so young. It's probably a more appropriate question for my parents who were young and didn't speak the language. They worked their asses off; my mom was a nurse and my dad had all sorts of jobs to make sure I received a good education.
Who was your favourite Power Ranger growing up? Did you have one? The yellow ranger. All the girls liked the pink one and I wanted to be different.
Growing up did you always dreamed about being an actress or was is something that happen over time? Yeah, I always thought I'd be a actress, because I got into it really young. When I was five, I was already doing commercials and by the twelve, I was awkward, chubby and wanted out. The insecurities that come with being a teenager made me think that I wasn't good enough or that a career in entertainment was unrealistic. It wasn't until college that I rediscovered how much I loved acting, and it's also how I made my closest friends.
Now from the outside looking in whats life like stepping into your shoes for a moment? It's great. I'm in New York talking to you and you seem great (laughs), But seriously, I'm very grateful.
What's life like in Cali how do you like it? I never take how beautiful it is there for granted. I rarely have to wear
anything heavier than a sweater, and I live a few minutes from my closest friends and family.
You attended University can you tell us what was the experience like? My school had a great theater program and I didn't even know it when I got in. I thought I needed to study some realistic, but was also lazy wanted an easy major that'd give me a quick degree. I majored in Communications at UC San Diego. I left high school after 10th grade, went to a community college and then transferred to a university, so I got there and everyone already had their shit together. I posted on the school's myspace page (this was 2006) that I had no idea how to do anything. "How do I buy books? Register for classes? Where do I park? Where do I live?" And this amazing guy, Alberto, wrote back a long and hilarious explanation, calming me down. He later became my roommate and is still like family to me. Moral of the story is: Ask for help and meet people on the internet. Anyway, I found San Diego very boring and generic. I took an acting as a creative outlet and a way to make friends. Also, UCSD offered an amazing opportunity to put on your own shows. They'd give you a little theater space and access to the costumes, so my friends and I would put on our own shows all the time. That's where I learned the most.
Alberto is probably reading this by now (laughs) So tell us how you first got started in the business. I credit a lot to the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. It's an improv theater that introduced me to some hilarious friends and gave me the courage to start my channel, Live Prude Girls. My friend and I would interview people in our living room and put out sketches. I didn't love editing the videos, but it was the only way to get shit made (laughs). After that, I started going on auditions and getting some acting work here and there.
What are some of noticeable changes to the industry that you've seen from when you started out up until now? Social media has changed a lot. Like people on Snapchat getting endorsement deals and YouTubers making movies. I think we're in cool time where we don't have to wait for someone to give us permission to work. We can make what we want, the way we want it.
Your recognized mostly for your your national commercial spot as "Lily", do you remember what it was like auditioning for this role? Yeah. I was actually having a bad day. I don't remember why, but I was crying earlier and then had to sit in a waiting room for another 45 minutes. Maybe I did well because I didn't have any fucks to give? (laughs) But I improvised a lot and eventually they asked me to come back and read with a bunch of different guys to make sure we work well together. We made one commercial that did well, and they kept asking me to come back. It's been one of the luckiest experiences of me life.
Out of all the At&t scenes that you've shot which one was your absolute funniest? Working with Gordon Ramsey was hilarious. The guy had a really hard time not dropping F bombs. This may be bad for his image, but he's actually a lovely human being.
(Laughs) How was it working with Mark Cuban? Mark is great. He's happy, humble, and a great dancer. he taught me a few moves he picked up on Dancing with the Stars.
Now if you can compare and contrast Milana and Lily, how would you break down the comparison there? Lily is wayyyy more together. She's dresses like a pro and is always put together. If I didn't have the help of the talented professionals you brought in to make me look this way, I'd look like one of those women who finally runs away from a kidnapper after living in a basement for 24 years.(Laughs)
Aside from taking the nation by storm as lily, you've also been seen as a huge Internet and viral youtube sensation withyour web series "Let's Talk About Something More Interesting" and just your overall oblivious sexy persona, Did you expect your show and yourself to be a hit the way you have over the years? I really believed in "Let's Talk About Something More Interesting." I don't know why. I just felt like we had something special. I don't think I've ever been that confident in another project again. And sexy persona? Did you just hear me refer myself as a basement dweller?(Laughs)
Now you've been in a slew of movies, how do you prepare for roles, are you shopping, listening to music meditating, or watching a certain movie? I look at a script, asking "How the hell am i going to do this?" and then I run the lines a million times with my best friend.
Recently you've been casted in the new ghostbusters remake can you tell us how was the experience, the cast crew and director? Yes. I'm very proud to say that I'm in the movie for a total of 4 seconds playing "Subway Rat Woman" (Laughs). It was still an awesome experience. The director, Paul Feig, is one of the funniest people in the world so any opportunity I get to hang out with him is the greatest.
Outside of acting directing and entertaining, what does fun look like for Milana? Fun! Milana just loves her friends and referring to herself in the third person. But seriously, I just like laughing, camping and cuddling with people.
Now we can tell that you like to have fun, so we're gonna ask you some question to get to know Milana the Goofball (laughs)
(Laughs) Everybody finds themselves dancing in the shower a few times a week do you hurt yourself trying to dance in the shower? No (smirks)
What's the most money you've ever drunkenly spent at McDonald's? I'm a vegetarian. Am i terrible at this game? (Laughs)
No, not that much anyway (smirks). Are you a "ok I'll share my food" eater or "No get your own" eater? I'm a jewish woman. Sharing food is how we show love.
How old were you when you realized Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny probably never actually knew one another in real life or yet alone existed? I never believed they were real but I didn't want to ruin it for the other kids (Laughs)
What's your favourite flavour of Skittle? Sour.
How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting? For joy or competitively? the answer is probably no more than two, either way.(Laughs)
Who was your favourite Spice Girl? Scary.
How many Taylor Swift songs do you actually listen to every single day? Zero? Who do you think I am?
Now How many Kanye West songs do you actually listen to every single day? Zero.
(Laughs) Do you care about their current disagreement online right now? No (Laughs)
How many friendships have you ruined because you refused to play a game mercifully? And which game was it? I was on a improv team that would play Mafia after each show. It's a game of lying and manipulating to uncover who the Mafia member are in the group,or protect yourself if you're the Mafia. I love it. Some of those games got really loud and dirty. In an effort to discredit my friend who was accusing me of being the Mafia, I said he's bad at the playing game and no one should trust him. He didn't talk to me for at least two months after that. Listen, if you can't stand the heat, don't play with fire...
umm,I think its "Stay out of the kitchen"...I'm bad at expressions.
(Laughs) What do you do when a baby just stares at you in public? Like, doesn't even blink, just maintains intense, aggressive eye contact with their irresistible cute baby face. What do you do? Great question. I engage immediately in a strategic game of peek-a-boo until the baby laughs. Babies love me because they can sense that I, too, was once a baby. (Laughs)
Ok that was fun (Smirks), Now apart from life on the screen, you're also activist with your "Can't Do Nothing" organization. How essential was it for you to launch the "Can't Do Nothing" Campaign? I make videos that raise awareness and money for good causes. I started Can't Do Nothing because I felt like I need to act on the injustices I see in the world. Standing by and complaining or feeling helpless wasn't an option. I thought that if I did nothing, I'd regret it forever.
What were some of the urgent problems taking place that you felt you have a duty to help fix? Dude. Look around. So many things, you name it. Right now, I'm focusing mostly on the Syrian Refugee Crisis because there over 5 million people who've suffered and been displaced because a civil in their country they had nothing to do with. Additionally, they're often unwelcome to enter othercountries and face severe poverty when they get there. I'm working with small organization that are hands-on providing solutions. Like The Syria Fund, they're building classrooms for children who've been out of school. I mean, think of what that looks like 10 years from now if you have a generation that's uneducated. Unacceptable!
I'm sure this was a touchy subject for you considering your personal experiences as an ex-refugee, did you find your yourself emotional at all throughout the process of your tours and creating the documentary? First of all, I don't think there's such a things as an ex-refugee. I think once you leave your home because of prosecution or violence, you're forever a refugee. Of course I was emotion. It's not because I'm a refugee, it's because they're human beings just an interesting and complex as you and me, but they've been forced to leave everything they've ever know in an attempt to survive. It's heartbreaking no matter who you are.
Your Campaign has really taken flight thus far. What is the message that you're hoping to get across to your fans supporters and people alike with your organization? I want to ask people: What matters to you? Is it women's right? Black Lives Matter? Global warming? Animal cruelty? Child labor? And what are you doing about it? How bad does it need to get before you can't sit back anymore? And why wait until then to take action?
hmmm good point, Can we look forward to another project from you that mirror similar issues? Yeah, I just got back from Jordan where I visited some of the classroom that Can't Do Nothing helped finance and the update video is coming soon.
Backstage Magazine deemed you one of the Top Actors on the Verge of Major Career Breakthroughs, is that a massive amount of pressure on you? Nah. I just gotta keep doing me.
What's been the most challenging piece with in your career? Honestly, I've been pretty lucky, can't complain (Laughs)
What's the best advice you can give to someone trying to step into your shoes as an actress, comedian or director? Make your own content. Don't wait!
Dope! ok just one last question before we wrap up your day, if you ever have a party anytime soon is the Dopeness crew invited...? You're welcome anytime! (Laughs)
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