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Creator / Charisma Carpenter

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Charisma Carpenter (born July 23, 1970 in Las Vegas, Nevada) is an American actress.

She is of French, German and Spanish heritage. Prior to getting into her acting career, she and her friends were attacked by police officer/Serial Rapist Henry Hubbard Jr. but managed to fend him off (though one friend was shot in the fight, he recovered from his injuries). Carpenter also retrieved some crucial evidence Hubbard left behind, i.e. his police-issue flashlight, aiding greatly in Hubbard's arrest and later conviction. She is thus a real life hero along with her fame from her roles.

She's best known as Cordelia Chase from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, as well as Jason Statham's girlfriend, Lacy, in The Expendables and its first sequel, and as Susan in the 2010 horror film Psychosis.


Tropes associated with her work:

  • Actor-Shared Background:invoked She was a cheerleader, like her character Cordelia Chase.
  • Advertised Extra: A lot of hype was made about her starring in Scream Queens (2015). She has five minutes of screen time in the second episode. Chanel #2 was supposedly intended to have a bigger role that then got cut down when Ariana Grande had to go on tour, and Charisma was playing her mother, so it's possible the role was originally larger.
  • Baby Name Trend Starter: invoked She's been told numerous times by fans that they named their daughters Cordelia in honour of her character.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:invoked She had been auditioning for the role of Buffy Summers, and was reluctant to take the role of Cordelia - as she was getting tired of playing bitchy characters. Her agent persuaded her to take it.
  • Casting Gag: On Charmed she plays a demon seer who longs to be human - the reverse of her role on Angel.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • She really disliked the Season 4 storyline of Angel involving the possessed Cordelia sleeping with Connor. She found it creepy and hated filming it.
    • Charisma eventually went public that Joss Whedon, the writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel emotionally abused the cast, especially Charisma. He mocked Charisma’s Catholic faith, bullied and belittled her during filming, often threatened to fire her, repeatedly called her “fat” while she was pregnant and when Joss Whedon discovered she was pregnant he ordered her into a meeting, demanding to know if she was going to “keep” the baby and tried pressuring her into an abortion when Charisma wanted to have a child. After this, though he kept Charisma on the show because of her popularity with fans, he bullied her even more by fat-shaming her as stated above, repeatedly spoke about how she deserved to be fired and eventually did fire Charisma. Several of Charisma’s cast mates (including Sarah Michelle Gellar herself) have supported Charisma and Charisma also claimed Joss Whedon often pitted the cast against each other.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked
    • Not so much anymore, but she was playing mid-twenty-somethings into her mid-thirties. She was a full decade older than her character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
    • Right before Buffy, she did the Teen Drama Malibu Shores, portraying a teenager at 25.
    • She played 25-year-old Kendall on Veronica Mars at 34.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: invoked She had brownish hair with blonde highlights when she was cast as Cordelia - the same colour as her female co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan. Hannigan went redhead, while Carpenter went dark brown.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: invoked Initially on Angel - with long coats and lots of black helping it along. Eventually her character's secret pregnancy became a plot point. But notably, after giving birth, Cordelia only appeared unconscious and from the shoulders up (as Charisma hadn't given birth yet).
  • Hostility on the Set:invoked She eventually went public with emotional abuse she suffered from Joss Whedon on the sets of both Buffy and Angel, accusing him of creating a toxic work environment and keeping everyone intimidated through bullying and manipulation. The low point for her was when she became pregnant during Angel's fourth season, and was called into a meeting where he demanded to know if she was going to "keep it". She was later dropped from the cast in between seasons because he was annoyed at having to rewrite the Season 4 storyline around the pregnancy. Other cast members who had worked with him publicly supported her.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends:invoked A long-standing rumor was that Charisma had auditioned for Paige in Charmed (1998) after Shannen Doherty was fired. This appears to be false, as Holly Marie Combs claims Rose McGowan didn't audition and was offered the role straight away (she and Charisma are good friends, so she'd probably know if she did audition). Rose later confirmed that she didn't audition in her autobiography.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: In The Lying Game, she was just a recurring character in Season 1. She got bumped up to regular in Season 2.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting:
    • invoked Her role as Sutton and Emma's birth mother on The Lying Game was supposed to be a secret, but everyone figured it out due to Carpenter's uncanny resemblance to Alexandra Chando.
    • In Bound (2015) Carpenter playing Michelle and Morgan Obenreder as her onscreen daughter Dara look similar enough to pass for this in reality.
  • Star-Derailing Role: The Fifty Shades of Grey Mockbuster Bound (2015) seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for her Hollywood career as she has been relegated mainly to guest appearances and TV roles ever since.
  • What Could Have Been:invoked She was apparently offered the role of Delilah in The Faculty. As the character was an Alpha Bitch (though her Hidden Depths are revealed), she turned it down for being too similar to Cordelia Chase.


Video Example(s):


Sexy Surfacing Shot

Cara slowly rises out of her water when confronted while bathing.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (27 votes)

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Main / SexySurfacingShot

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