July 23, 1970
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Actor, Professional cheerleader, Aerobics instructor, Property manager, Video store clerk, Waitress
One-time professional cheerleader and childhood beauty pageant contestant, Charisma Carpenter made it big by playing - not surprisingly - a beautiful high school cheerleader. After several years as Cordelia Chase on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB/UPN, 1997-2003), and further exploration of the character on "Angel" (WB, 1999-2004), Carpenter finally left the real "Buffyverse," but did not stray too far away from what made her famous in the first place.Charisma Lee Carpenter was born on July 23, 1970, in Las Vegas, NV to Don and Chris Carpenter. She began studying ballet at five and was a participant in numerous beauty contests. She attended Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School before her family moved to Mexico when she was 15. While living in Mexico, Carpenter commuted to Bonita High near San Diego, CA before finally graduating from Chula Vista School of Creative and Performing Arts.By 1991, Carpenter finally used her skills as a one-time high school cheerleader to leave behind a series of mundane jobs to become a member of the pom-pom shaking San Diego Chargers' cheerleading squad. The following year, she upped the ante on her dreams, moving to Los Angeles, where she was "discovered" while working as a waitress. Signed by a commercial agent, the brunette beauty was soon booked on several television spots, which in turn led to her landing her first role on a 1994 episode of "Baywatch" (NBC/Syndicated, 1989-2001). This part helped her earn a subsequently bigger gig - that of Ashley Green - on uber-producer Aaron Spelling's primetime soap, "Malibu Shores" (NBC, 1996) - a show that, despite having an extraordinarily limited run, managed to produce a number of successful actors, including Barry "7th Heaven" Watson and Keri "Felicity" Russell.Although she appeared on several other forgotten shows in the months on "Malibu Shores," Carpenter's career did not truly begin until she auditioned for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Despite being passed over for the lead role (which went to Sarah Michelle Gellar, Carpenter caught the attention of the show's producers and was cast as Cordelia Chase, the archetypal shallow cheerleader who reluctantly at first, joins in the fight for good alongside Buffy. At the show's fictional Sunnydale High School, Cordelia was at once popular, rich, beautiful and cruel. Eventually, however, her social status plummeted - partially as a result of her joining Buffy's clique of vampire hunters.After two years of paying her dues on "Buffy," Carpenter moved on to a new show, but did not stray far from the Buffy universe - or "Buffyverse" - as fans called it. Turns out, her character Cordelia the cheerleader moved from Sunnydale to Los Angeles where she joined fellow "Buffy" alum David Boreanez on the spin-off "Angel" to continue doing battle with underworld demons. Although she was written off the show in 2003, fan support brought her back for "Angel's" 100th episode in 2004.With few exceptions - among them the 2001 comedy "The Groomsmen" - Carpenter spent her career in television. After leaving the "Buffyverse," Carpenter appeared in multi-episode guest arcs on "Charmed" (WB, 1998-2006) and the failed "Miss Match" (NBC, 2003) with a series of single episode appearances on other shows. She also made quite the splash with "Buffy" nerds the world over when she appeared on the cover of the June, 2004 issue of Playboy magazine, which inside, featured in a 10-page spread of the former vampire-killing babe. In 2005, Carpenter returned to television in a recurring role as the gold-digging trophy-wife Kendall Casablancas on the "Buffy"-influenced detective series, "Veronica Mars" (UPN/CW, 2004-17), starring break-out star Kristen Bell.