Jul. 23rd, 1970
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Charisma Carpenter's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Charisma Carpenter (born July 23, 1970), in Las Vegas, was named after an Avon perfume (a fact that did not sit well with her). She studied classical ballet from age five. Her family moved around often. As a youngster, she entered many local beauty contests. Charisma attended Gorman High School in Las Vegas. At 15, the family moved to Rosarita City, Mexico, and then to Bonita (a suburb of San Diego) where she attended Bonita High. Charisma finally transferred to Chula Vista School of Creative and Performing Arts, where she graduated in 1988. In high school(s), she was a cheerleader, and did the typical teen things: sneaking out and having boys over when mom wasn't home. Carpenter's nature tends to be pensive, which some classmates unfortunately misinterpreted as being snooty. After graduating, she traveled throughout Europe, then went on to college. She also worked as an aerobics instructor and in property management.
In 1991, Carpenter was a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers. In 1992, she moved to Los Angeles. She audited classes at Playhouse West and was cast in over 20 major commercials, including doing a long stint for Secret. Charisma was in a number of theater productions, such as "No, No, Nanette" and "Welcome Home, Soldier." This tall (5'7") beauty with the striking looks, brunette hair with chestnut highlights, and hazel eyes was a natural for TV; she started in an episode of Baywatch (1989) in October, 1994. Because of the her appearance, 'Aaron Spelling' personally auditioned her for the role of Ashley in Malibu Shores (1996), which had a brief run from March to June of 1996. Despite the short run, TV Guide noticed her and said she was beguiling and had the most fleshed-out character on the show.
Carpenter auditioned for the title role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) but wound up being cast as Cordelia, instead. She had doubts about this and did not want to play a bitchy character again, but her agent reminded her that she couldn't be typecast until people knew her. Originally intended as a temporary character, to be a thorn in Buffy's side, Charisma's role was popular enough that she became a regular in the second season. She is quick to point out she is nothing like her TV persona, noting, "People might think I'm this awful person, but I'm not--I'm a nice girl". Fans and producers liked the character enough that she was transferred to a bigger role on the spin-off series Angel (1999). A long career in TV now seems assured for Carpenter.
Her hobbies include horseback riding, roller blading, hiking and rock climbing (for her 26th birthday, she had gone skydiving. When the folks at WB heard about this, they made her sign a clause that she would refrain from that for the length of her contract). She has prudently switched to writing poetry instead. Her favorite color is yellow (mine too, it's so bright and cheerful). For Carpenter, life is good. And, as a former Las Vegas lounge performer, she comments that dancing is easy, acting is not. She also notes, "You can take the girl out of Vegas, but you can't take Vegas out of the girl".
- Appears on the June 2004 cover of Playboy with a 10 page layout inside.
- The scars her character Cordelia got after a fall in Buffy are actually real. As a young child, she fell into a swimming pool that was under construction at her home, and was run through by a piece of rebar.
- Her guest spot on Lifetime's _"The Division" (2001)_ (qv) as a young woman attacked by an undercover police officer eerily resembles a real life incident nearly ten years ago in which Charisma and two of her friends were attacked by a former police officer in Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego. Charisma escaped unharmed, although one of her friends was seriously injured. The police officer, who had been stalking Charisma for almost a year, was sentenced to fifty years in prison.
- Will be reprising her role as Cordelia Chase in the 100th episode of _"Angel" (1999)_ (qv). The show is currently in its fifth season without her, considering the Cordelia Chase character is in a coma. [November 2003]
- Has studied classical ballet since the age of 5, and pursued dancing as part of her high school curriculum, by commuting between Mexico and San Diego to take lessons at the School of Creative and Performing Arts.
- She speaks Spanish; however, she states that she's not fluent, despite being of Mexican ancestry and spending time living in Mexico as a child.
- She's Cherokee, Irish, Scottish, and Spanish on her mother's side and French and German on her father's side.
- Her character, Cordelia Chase, whom she had played for years on _"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997)_ (qv) and _"Angel" (1999)_ (qv), was killed off in the landmark 100th episode of _"Angel" (1999)_ (qv). It was her final appearance on the series, with the exception of archival footage.