Throughout the 1990s, fans of Boy Meets World watched star Danielle Fishel and her character, Topanga Lawrence, grow up on screen. The actor joined the series in 1993 when she was only 12 years old and played the role (for the first time) until she was 19. Topanga was known for being the smartest kid in class, for always standing up for herself, and, of course, for her relationship with Cory Matthews (Ben Savage).
Fishel returned to the role in the 2010s for the spinoff series Girl Meets World, but aside from that, she’s moved away from acting in recent years to take on another aspect of TV production. Read on to learn about Fishel’s life today, from her career to her family to her strong friendships with her Boy Meets World castmates.
Fishel continued acting, taking on a few roles following the end of Boy Meets World, including in the TV movie Dorm Daze and the show Nikki. She has also done some voiceover work and has worked as a TV host, including on the series The Dish.
Fishel’s major return to acting came in 2014 when she began starring on Girl Meets World, reuniting with Savage and other stars. The sequel series follows Riley (Rowan Blanchard), the 12-year-old child of Topanga and Cory. The series aired for three seasons until 2017.
Fishel is currently focusing on directing rather than acting. She made her directing debut with episodes of Girl Meets World and went on to helm episodes of other shows for kids, including the Disney Channel series Raven’s Home and Sydney to the Max.
“I try to bring that fun and that energy and that enthusiasm that I had as a teenager to the work that I do now, because I work with those teenagers that I once was,” she told Romper in April.
Fishel married her husband—writer, podcast host, and viral cereal-tweeter Jensen Karp—in 2018. They have two children, Adler and Keaton. Fishel opened up about being a working mom with young kids in her Romper interview.
“If staying at home for you means giving up such a huge part of who you are, and it’s just going to eat away at you, they’re going to know that,” she said. “I want my kids to look at the way I lived my life and say, ‘Mistakes, flaws, whatever. It was fine. She was pursuing her authentic self and pursuing what was good for her and for the greater good of the family. And I want to emulate that, too.'”
Fishel has remained friends with her Boy Meets World castmates. In March, she posted an Instagram of a group of them at a reunion event and captioned it, “The group chat IRL.”
Of Savage in particular, she told E! News in 2021, “It is one of those relationships that you have to ride the wave. Sometimes we are regularly in touch, sometimes we have not been so in touch. But, the one thing that has always remained constant is that whenever we see each other, it’s like no time has passed.”
Fishel knows that Topanga is her defining role, which makes it especially fortunate that she loves the character so much.
“People ask me all the time if it bothers me that I’m only known for being Topanga,” she told TV Insider in 2020. “I think no because it could have been so much worse. There are so many characters that would really bum me out to be known as when I look back at the course of TV. Topanga was so cool. I’m so lucky that’s the character I’m known for.”