Ann Marie Baldonado

In 2009, actor Kal Penn did something unexpected: He left his job as a cast regular on the popular TV show House to take a position in the Obama White House, serving as a junior staffer and liaison to arts communities, young Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Performing in the fictional girl band Girls5Eva is not entirely new territory for actor Renée Elise Goldsberry. "I was actually in a girl group that had the same experience ... ," she says. "We didn't make it even as far as Girls5Eva back in the late '90s."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

John Cho sometimes has a hard time taking life in Hollywood seriously. The actor was born in South Korea but grew up in the United States, and he says his experiences are vastly different from the deprivation his father saw as a child in what is now North Korea.

"My dad tried to eat [tree] bark, he was so hungry," Cho says. "Whenever I'm on my way to a premiere or something, I always have a good laugh in the car ... because it's all so absurd — I'm one generation removed from starvation."

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

When it comes to writing TV, producer and actress Sharon Horgan admits that she draws heavily from her own life. "I am my own provider of material," she says. "I'm ... just trying to put the most honest version of what I think onscreen."