Danielle Christine Fishel
May 5, 1981 (age 33)
Fishel was born in Mesa, Arizona, and was the daughter of Jennifer, a personal manager, and Rick Fishel, a medical equipment sales executive. She is of half Maltese descent. The family relocated to Yorba Linda, California when she was three weeks old. She has one younger brother, Christopher. She graduated from Calabasas High School in 1999.
In 1991, the then-ten-year-old Fishel was discovered in a community theater where she performed in two productions, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. She quickly moved on to do voice-overs and commercials, including several as a Barbie Girl for Mattel. Soon after, she appeared on two episodes of the hit show Full House, guest starring as a character named Jennifer. She also had a small role on Harry and the Hendersons, playing Jessica. Fishel's mother became her full-time manager.
In 1993, at the age of twelve, Fishel began her well-known role as Topanga Lawrence on ABC's pilot series Boy Meets World. Originally written as a small part, Topanga became a recurring role. After a successful first year, Fishel became a show regular. Fishel's character was a sparky, intelligent girl who was mature beyond her years; she replaced the nerdy Stuart Minkus as the brains of the class. The long-running show ended in 2000 after seven years.
Fishel was on the cover of Seventeen in December 1998. She took home a 1998 Young Star for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series. In June 1999, she was one of "The 21 Hottest Stars Under 21" as presented by Teen People. Fishel was on the cover of GQ's hottest stars to watch in GQ's 1997 October issue. (GQ 1997 10) She appeared in the music video for "Until You Loved Me" by Canadian music group The Moffatts.
Since Boy Meets World ended, Fishel has appeared in several films, including National Lampoon's Dorm Daze. In 2006, she appeared in three made-for-DVD releases: National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2: College at Sea (appearing again as "Marla" from the first film), the action film Gamebox 1.0 (playing a dual role), and The Chosen One, an independent animated film in which she provides the voice of the lead female character.
In 2006, Fishel appeared as a guest on The Tyra Banks Show where she discussed her dramatic weight loss with the use of the Nutrisystems Diet. Following her appearance on the show, Fishel became a spokesperson for NutriSystem. She also became a special correspondent for The Tyra Banks Show, starting in early February 2007. By 2010 she had gained some of the weight back, and told People magazine she could not maintain her NutriSystem weight.
In 2003, Fishel co-hosted Say What? Karaoke on MTV for one season. From August 2008 to March 2011 Fishel hosted The Dish for the Style Network, which satirized pop culture in a format similar to sister network E! Entertainment Television's The Soup. Fishel was also on Fuse TV as host of The Fuse 20, and was a guest star on the round table on an episode of Chelsea Lately. Beginning in 2012, Fishel became the host of MSN TV's Last Night on TV.
In 2013, Fishel starred in the controversial drama, Boiling Pot, which is based on true events of racism that occurred on college campuses across the country during the 2008 Presidential election. The film, written and directed by the Ashmawey brothers under Ashmawey Films, also stars Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr., Keith David, M. Emmet Walsh, and John Heard. Fishel plays an average college girl, naive to racism and unaware of it's existence. She struggles to find acceptance from her parents for her ethnic fiance and quickly gets tangled in racist events happening on campus. Boiling Pot is set to release in 2014.
It has been reported that Fishel dated her Boy Meets World co-star Ben Savage. However, in a 2013 interview with Maxim, Fishel revealed that this was only a rumor that she accidentally started during an appearance on The Tyra Banks Show—in fact, she and Savage only went on one dinner date as teenagers, and "by the time the dinner was over we realized mutually that we were more like family than lovers." She dated former 'N Sync member Lance Bass from 1999 to 2000, and he was her date to her high school prom. In 2007, Fishel was arrested in Los Angeles County on a drunk driving warrant.Fishel also had a brief relationship with Death Row Records recording artist, Michael Barber.
Fishel attended California State University, Fullerton from 2008 to 2012, and graduated with her bachelor's degree on December 19, 2012, at age 31. During her university studies, she became a math tutor, leading her to meet Tim Belusko. After over three years of dating, she became engaged to Belusko in May 2012. They married on October 19, 2013 in Los Angeles.