Charisma Carpenter: Why She Isn’t Landing Big Roles Anymore

Read Time:7 Minute

By Rick Gonzales
| Published

At first, Charisma Carpenter wanted to be an English teacher. Her heart was set on it. But a chance meeting with a theatrical agent changed her mind and she made her way to Hollywood. Carpenter almost never got the chance for the meeting that would alter her career. She is lucky to be alive. She is lucky to still be working in Hollywood.


charisma carpenter buffy the vampire slayer

In January 2022, after a long silence, Joss Whedon finally responded to allegations of abuse made by cast members of 2017’s Justice League, to whom Charisma Carpenter has often voiced her support. Among other things that Whedon is accused of, Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot claimed the director threatened her career. In his January interview, Whedon said Gadot misunderstood a joke he made, and chalked it up to English not being the actress’ first language. It was one of many comments Whedon made in the interview which served only to further hurt his reputation in many fans’ eyes.

Charisma Carpenter, who claims to not only have had similar threats thrown at her by Whedon but to have actually had her career hurt by the director when she was fired from Angel, was quick to respond. Carpenter tweeted a message once again expressing her support for Justice League actor Ray Fisher as well as one in which she wrote that she believed Gal Gadot could not only understand “career threats in English but also in Hebrew and Arabic. Possibly French, Spanish, and Italian too.” You can see the tweet below.


Charisma Carpenter recently came out and levelled accusations of on-set abuse against Joss Whedon. She says it occurred during her time working on the two Whedon created shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

Here’s her story…


Charisma Carpenter

Life in Hollywood was still a couple of years away for Charisma Carpenter even though she was about to jump into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This was 1991 and Carpenter was swimming at Torrey State Pines Beach with two friends when they were attacked by serial rapist Henry Hubbard Jr. who, at the time, was a 29-year old policeman.

During the attack, Hubbard had a gun and used it to order Charisma Carpenter to tie up her friends. But Carpenter refused. Her refusal allowed her friends to jump Hubbard and overpower him. During the struggle, though, both young men suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds. Hubbard was able to make an escape but Charisma smartly held on to the police-issued flashlight he dropped, a piece of evidence that would be used to ultimately convict Hubbard for that attack, as well as a string of others. Hubbard eventually earned a 56-year prison sentence.

Surviving Evil
Charisma Carpenter on Surviving Evil

Briefly jumping forward in Charisma Carpenter’s career, she was finally able to tell her tale to the world on the Discovery Channel show Surviving Evil. Not only was she able to tell her story, but she was also the host of the show and her story was the first one out of the shoot, titled Terror Beach.

It wasn’t easy for Carpenter to share the story of ordeal, but she felt she was finally at a place in her life where she could and also felt it was time. “Now I’m in a place where I could. I have enough distance — and a lot of therapy — between then and what happened and now,” she opened up to TVLine. “It’s not as fresh. It’s not as painful.”

Surviving Evil
Terror Beach on Surviving Evil

It wasn’t long after terror at the beach that Charisma Carpenter’s life would change again, only this time for the better.


Charisma Carpenter

An episode of Baywatch kicked off Charisma Carpenter’s career. She immediately opened eyes and after a few bit roles, she found herself starring in the short-lived soap opera Malibu Shores. While the show was short-lived, Carpenter’s career was just beginning to hit its stride.

Charisma Carpenter on Baywatch

Her next jump was a big one as she then went in to audition for the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer…as Buffy! Producers saw something different in her and instead offered her the role of Cordelia Chase, the snobby, bitchy, but popular high school student. It took and she took to it.

Charisma Carpenter
As Cordelia Chase

In what initially was going to be more of a recurring role, Charisma Carpenter’s Chase began to get more and more screen time. She went from snobby and bitchy, to snobby, bitchy, and helpful as her character began to understand what Buffy and her crew were all about.

Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter on Angel

Carpenter lasted three seasons on Buffy and then her character was moved over to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel where, after she is saved by Angel, she helps him with running the detective agency, Angel Investigations. Charisma Carpenter spent four seasons on the hit show.


Charisma Carpenter

Cordelia Chase is not the only character Charisma Carpenter could play and TV was not the only work she got. She did jump over to feature films, most notably appearing in the Sylvester Stallone-led action movies The Expendables and The Expendables 2. She was also seen in Bound, Street Level, and Mail Order Monster.

Charisma Carpenter in Bound

Back on the TV side of the business, Charisma Carpenter turned her Buffy/Angel popularity into roles on Charmed and a recurring one on Veronica Mars. From there she became more of a guest star on various TV series.

Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter on Charmed

She was seen in Greek, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Burn Notice, Blue Bloods, Sons of Anarchy, Scream Queens, Chicago P.D., and Lucifer. And let’s not forget her three years run on Surviving Evil.


Charisma Carpenter Now

Now 50-years-old, Charisma Carpenter is a divorced mom raising a 17-year-old son. She’s also still working steadily.

Currently Charisma Carpenter guesting on Pandora, and heard on the weekly podcast Opposite Sex Show. As Hollywood shut down, so did opportunities for her, but don’t expect the former Buffy star out of the game for long. Hollywood is slowly beginning to get its feet back under themselves, so keep an eye out for Charisma, she should be coming back to a TV screen in the very near future.


Ever since Charisma Carpenter took a stance against director Joss Whedon’s alleged on-set abuses, life in front of the camera has been few and far between for the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress. Whether her lack of work is because of her allegations against Whedon or the fact that she doubled down and supported actor Ray Fisher when he had the same on-set issues with Whedon, we may never know. But it isn’t stopping Carpenter from trying her best to land some parts.

Over the past three years, Carpenter has been relatively quiet on the acting front. In 2020, Carpenter didn’t log a single job, either on the big or the small screen. In 2021, she got a role in the TV movie, The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story and she was also on a podcast series called The Burned Photo. This year, after speaking out for Fisher, she was seen in the PureFlix original series called Going Home about a group of dedicated hospice nurses who handle the end of patient’s lives with care and dignity. If you can find the Pure Flix streaming service, the series actually has received some good reviews.

Along with Going Home, Carpenter was also seen on an episode of the CW series, Dynasty. This series is a reboot of the 1980s hit TV series of the same name. The 80s series big names such as John Forsythe, Linda Evans, and Joan Collins and was known for its over-the-top camp, crazy cliffhangers, and catfights to end all catfights. This new series stars Grant Show, Elizabeth Gillies, Rafael de la Fuente, Robert Christopher Riley, and Sam Adegoke. Whereas the original was set in Denver, Colorado, the updated Dynasty was set in Atlanta, Georgia.

Charisma Carpenter arrived in season 5’s 17th episode titled There’s No One Around to Watch You Drown and sadly, if there had been a chance of her catching on to this series, that chance has since gone away. The CW recently announced that season 5 will be the last for this incarnation of Dynasty.

What comes next for the 52-year-old actress in front of the camera is unknown. Her career has shown she has the talent, it is now about finding a project or two that will bring her on. She remains very active on her social media, constantly posting to both her Instagram and Twitter. In the meantime, Charisma Carpenter looks to be starting her own business called MyCon. According to the MyCon Twitter page, the business will be “A virtual community providing personal encounters with your favorite celebrities. Talent founded; fan-driven.” You can find out more about Carpenter’s business here.