Yolanda Rat first appeared in The Muppets Take Manhattan as one of several rats befriended by Rizzo. She appeared sporadically over the years, until taking on a regular role as Kermit's assistant in ABC's The Muppets.
In The Muppets Take Manhattan, she and her rat compatriots apply for jobs at Pete's Luncheonette. As the only girl among the group, Rizzo frequently makes unwanted passes at her. She gets the job working in the kitchen at Pete's, and helps Kermit with his whispering campaign to sell Manhattan Melodies. Although she and Rizzo don't develop much of an agreeable relationship on screen, they appear to have grown close by the Wedding Finale.
She was the head of Muppet Studios in the interactive video game You're the Director, where she was named Yolanda Steele, an executive concerned with keeping production under budget. In Muppet Classic Theater, she plays a huckster who assists in selling invisible attire in "The Emperor's New Clothes".
Yolanda can also be seen in the background of A Muppet Family Christmas and The Muppets at Walt Disney World, and pops up The Muppet Show Comic Book: Family Reunion, where she is paired with Rizzo. When she and Rizzo played Hansel and Gretel in the Summer 1986 issue of Muppet Magazine, she said she was happy to be saved from being typecast in The Pied Piper of Hamelin... "we play the rats."
She briefly appeared in the beginning of The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora episode "Movie Night" in 2010, and has a spoken line in the episode "World's Biggest Sandwich". In the Entertainment Weekly "reunions issue" (October 2010), she is incorrectly credited for having been a cast member of The Muppet Show. She also appeared during the "Life's a Happy Song" finale of 2011's The Muppets beside Beauregard and fellow rats.
In The Muppets, she works on the staff of Up Late with Miss Piggy while studying to become an ultrasound technician (she has a 'B' average). She has a close relationship with Rizzo and has been dating a possum who works in advertising.
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (Karen Prell)
- The Muppet Show On Tour: 2nd Edition (Karen Prell)
- A Muppet Family Christmas
- Muppets Studios Presents: You're the Director (Camille Bonora)
- The Jim Henson Hour: "Secrets of the Muppets"
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World
- Muppet Classic Theater (Julianne Buescher)
- The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora (Alice Dinnean)
- The Muppets (2011)
- The Muppets (2015) (Julianne Buescher)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984 storybook)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984 comic book)
- Kermit's First Recital (1987 music book)
- Look and Find Muppets (1996)
- The Muppet Show Comic Book: Family Reunion (2010 comic book)
- Kermit's Costume Caper (2012 storybook)
Other female rats
Yolanda is the only recurring female rat, but other similar looking rats have appeared over the years filling the role of ancillary characters similar to Whatnots. In addition to the named Rhonda Rat, they include:
- A rat in formal wear in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years.
- A rat tourist in Muppet Treasure Island.
- A blonde rat credited in Craig Shemin's script for a January 1, 1998 Today appearance as "NBC Tour Guide Rat" and played by Stephanie D'Abruzzo.
- A rat in a prom photo appearing in Muppets from Space.