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Cori Wellins starred in Arachnophobia and appeared on an episode of CHiPs as a kid, but after interning for her own agent during her senior year at UCLA, she shifted her focus from performing to representing talent (including GLOW showrunner Liz Flahive and Master of None co-creator Alan Yang). "It's just a tough trade," says the WME partner of her childhood career. "I met with my first agent when I was 10 — I remember him telling me that I was fat, I had thin hair, I had a high forehead, that I was never going to make it in this business if I didn't lose weight and take one of his acting workshops that cost $800."
But as kid star turned entertainment attorney Jeff Cohen, best known as as Chunk in 1985's the Goonies, says, "if you love show business, there's lots of ways you can be part of the gang," even if your acting fizzles after childhood. "Puberty, actually, made the decision for me," Cohen says of his involuntary career transition. "I became less chunky so work dried up; it was a forced retirement."
Former child stars work all over the industry, from software development at HBO (Clarissa Explains It All's Jason Zimbler) to producing (Home Improvement's Zachery Ty Bryan) to X-Men fight choreography (The Goonies' Data, Jonathan Ke Quan). While she has many fond memories of acting ("There is a thrill going onto the MGM lot and feeling like, 'Oh, my gosh, I have a job here'"), Wellins says her background gives her empathy with artists — an understanding of the tough breaks of the biz.
"Whether you're a writer, a director or an actor, no matter how great a job you do, you don't know when your next job is coming," she says, adding with a laugh, "I'm definitely better at this job than I was at that job." Of his own glory days, Cohen notes that he'll occasionally compliment someone wearing a Goonies T-shirt "and they go, 'Thanks,' [but] they don't know who I am."
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