It was Olivia Wilde who got Kal Penn into political activism.
In a new interview with the “Now What? With Brooke Shields” podcast, an iHeartMedia original release from the acclaimed actress and model, Penn explained how Wilde introduced him to the Obama campaign.
The pair worked on the TV series “House” together from 2007-2012, with Wilde playing Thirteen and Penn starring as Dr. Lawrence Kutner.
READ MORE: Kal Penn Will Star In And Produce ‘Superfan’ Biopic About Toronto Raptors Biggest Fan
Speaking about leaving the drama to work for the Obama administration, Penn shared: “When I was working on ‘House’, Olivia Wilde had a plus-one to an Obama campaign event and I very begrudgingly said I would go with her even though I had no desire to do anything political, and I was really inspired by what I saw at that campaign event.
“And so she, and I and Tatiana Ali and Megalyn Echikunwoke, were the four artists who signed up that week to go to Iowa to help out the Obama campaign and so I went there and fell in love with the fact that it was just people who were doing something that they believed in.
“I had the chance to work on that campaign for the next year or so and that’s what opened the door.”
READ MORE: Kal Penn Recalls Almost Taking President Barack Obama To A Strip Club
Penn served in the Obama administration as the Principal Associate Editor in the White House Office of Public Engagement from April 2009. He then became a co-chair of Obama’s reelection campaign, before being appointed to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2013.