When the final episode of “Boy Meets World” aired in 2000, fans said goodbye to the beloved character Topanga Lawrence, portrayed by the talented Danielle Fishel. But what happened to Fishel after the curtains closed on the iconic ’90s sitcom? From her transition into adulthood to her ventures beyond acting, Danielle Fishel’s journey has been anything but ordinary.
Fishel was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1981 but later moved to California with her parents. She began acting at the age of 10 when she performed in stage productions of The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. She took to performing after those roles and even landed a gig voice acting for Barbie commercials.
Her first on screen credit was for the beloved 90s show Full House. She played Jennifer P. in two episodes. Her character was one of two named Jennifer, a duo of cool girls at Stephanie Tanner’s school she was trying to impress.
Boy Meets World
Not long after her two episode stint on Full House she was cast as her most recognizable role of Topanga in Boy Meets World. Topanga was a classmate of Corey Matthews (the show’s main character portrayed by Ben Savage) and later his main love interest.
The first few seasons Topanga was depicted as a strange kid in their class, she had two former hippies for parents and was close with the overachieving Minkus.
Though their relationship was rocky at times, Corey and Topanga married and eventually moved to New York with Eric Matthews and Shawn Hunters (Corey’s brother and best friend).
The story behind Fishel’s character’s name is debated, but all accounts agree she was named after Topanga Canyon in California, a well known hippie estableshmant. It makes perfect sense given Topanga’s hippie parents.
What did she do after Boy Meets World?
After her breakout role as Topanga on Boy Meets World, Fishel took a break from acting to attend college. She returned to TV in the early 2000s with guest roles on shows like Yes, Dear and The Nightmare Room. In 2004, she became the host of pop culture clip show The Dish on Style Network. She continued acting with parts in movies like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 2 and The Chosen One.
Girl Meets World
Fishel’s most notable role after Boy Meets World was reprising Topanga as a married mother on the spinoff series Girl Meets World, which ran on Disney Channel from 2014-2017. The meta-sequel reunited Topanga with her childhood sweetheart Cory, played by fellow BMW star Ben Savage.
The show centered around their child Riley and her best friend Maya. The show only lasted three seasons, but it was acclaimed for it’s emotional subject matter during it’s run.
What is Danielle Fishel doing now?
Danielle last acting credit came in 2019 for the animated series Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Although she has taken a hiatus from acting, Danielle has focused her attention behind the camera, directing.
She got her start directing two episodes of the Girl Meets World spinoff in 2016-2017. Since then, Fishel has helmed episodes of several Disney Channel and Disney+ shows, including Raven’s Home, Sydney to the Max, Just Roll with It, and The Villains of Valley View. She also directed an episode of the George Lopez sitcom Lopez vs. Lopez in 2023.
Outside of the Disney family, Fishel has directed episodes of the Peacock series Classmates in 2023 and an episode of Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars spinoff Pretty Freekin Scary this year as well.
Her directing resume spans popular tween shows to edgier teen fare. Fishel has proven herself multi-talented, transitioning smoothly from her acting roots to calling the shots behind the camera. Her directing career is still nascent, but she’s already built an impressive list of credits guiding the next generation of Disney stars.
Fishel has a project in the works with executive producer of Boy Meets World, Mark Blutman. It’s a middle school show titled I’m With Her about two influencers who team up to make informative and entertaining content.
Fishel said the goal of the show is to get children talking about a lot of the issues they face every day: “It’s a critical time as kids are faced with all sorts of hot button topics like social injustice, gun control, gender equality, race, politics, LGBTQ issues, a pandemic and Mark and I both share the passion and belief that these kids need to be talked to now more than ever…”
Pod Meets World
Alongside Boy Meet World’s Will Friedle and Rider Strong, Fishel also hosts a podcast titled “Pod Meets World,” where the cast rewatch episodes from the show and share their thoughts on episodes as well as give listeners behind the scenes stories and answer questions from fans.
During the first episode of the podcast, Fishel addresses co-star Ben Savage’s absence from the show. They approached him with the idea in 2018 and he said “It’s not really my thing.” Savage has been busy with other film and television projects.
Although Ben Savage isn’t apart of the podcast, he did reunited with Danielle in a 2021 ad for Panera.
Danielle has also created a hair product line called Be Free, which is crafted without using harsh chemicals and is ‘cruelty-free, vegan, made in the USA, eco-friendly, accessible, inclusive and empowering’.
Savage and Fishel have remained close friends ever since they met on the set of Boy Meets World. They recently opened up to fans and told them they even went on a date together to see if their friendship could turn romantic, but they quickly learned they were better off as friends.
Ben Savage wasn’t the only potential lover Fishel met on the set of the show. NSYNC member Lance Bass met her on set when the boy band appeared in an episode.
Bass told fellow member Justin Timberlake he had a crush on Fishel and Timberlake got her phone number for him.
They dated for a year and Bass even took Fishel to her senior prom. He broke up with her two weeks later, at the time he said it was due to the long distance.
In 2006 Bass came out as gay to the public. Fishel and Bass are close friends now, and even developing a movie about their romance.
Now, Fishel is happily married to Jensen Karp, a musician and radio host. He is recognizable from the infamous Cinnamon Toast Crunch incident that went viral on Twitter where Karp claimed to have found cinnamon coated shrimp tails in a bag of the cereal.
Fishel and Karp married in 2018, and now have two sons together.