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You've Seen This Woman A Thousand Times But Had No Idea She Was A Refugee

If you watch TV with any consistency, you've probably seen actress and comedian Milana Vayntrub more times than you can count. She plays the quirky and affable Lily Adams character in a series of AT&T commercials.

But you probably didn't know Vayntrub was born in the Soviet Union (Uzbekistan)-- or that she's a refugee.

Today, she's utilizing her star power and social media influence to help address a pressing issue that really hits home with her: the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

Vayntrub recently started an organization, #CantDoNothing, to provide a simple yet meaningful avenue for people to help with the refugee crisis and spread the word in the process.

On Monday, she took the time to speak with Elite Daily about her family's experience and what inspired her to get involved with assisting refugees.

In the late 1980s, Vayntrub's family fled the Soviet Union due to widespread animosity toward Jews. They wanted to go to America, but the process wasn't exactly easy for them, and they spent some time in Austria and Italy.

Eventually, her family found a way into the US, and while they continued to struggle, it's apparent her parents did everything they could to give her a better life.

Vayntrub's father now lives in Moscow, and they recently took a trip together to Greece. In Athens, she encountered the refugee crisis firsthand.

She felt ridiculous she was there on vacation while people were suffering, and she decided she couldn't sit back and do nothing. It was Vayntrub's time in Greece that inspired her to establish #CantDoNothing.

Vayntrub admits she wasn't very familiar with the Syrian refuge crisis prior to her visit to Greece, but being there really put things into perspective.

It's evident how much it bothered Vayntrub that this crisis is seemingly being ignored in the US.

She understands we can't pay attention to everything all the time, and that people have their reasons for focusing on one issue or another. But, for her, standing idly by just wasn't an option.

Ultimately, she decided to head to the island of Lesbos, where many refugees are arriving after making the dangerous and often fatal journey from Turkey -- often on flimsy rafts.

Once in Lesbos, Vayntrub did whatever she could to help newly arrived refugees.

This is what #CantDoNothing is all about: making whatever effort we can to have a positive impact on a negative situation.

As Vayntrub put it,

She believes social media can be an extremely useful tool for instituting change.

Vayntrub is tired of people saying we shouldn't use social media to expand social causes, and she's urging people to be unabashed about any efforts they're making to improve the world.

Vayntrub understands this is a controversial issue, but she implored Americans to keep an open mind about refugees.

Vayntrub's family history definitely influenced her decision to turn her vacation in Greece into a humanitarian mission. She said knowing what it's like to "be an outsider, or being in a new place, or being uprooted" definitely motivated her to help.

But she also said it was much more than that.

When you stop to think about it, helping people in that situation really shouldn't be difficult for anyone to get on board with.

We're all human, and helping one another is imperative to our survival.

If you want to learn more about #CantDoNothing, visit

Also make sure to watch Vayntrub's powerful mini-documentary on her experience in Greece, which can be viewed below.