Danielle Fishel almost missed her big chance to build an entire career on the role of Topanga Lawrence in Boy Meets World. On the newest episode of the podcast Pod Meets World, the actress, 41, confessed that the show’s creator Michael Jacobs threatened to fire her on day one at her new job. The self-described “spunky” young actress was only 12 years old at the time, and she related that her perky nature irked Michael. She was “bubbly, fast-talking [and] spunky,” she said on the podcast, adding that it was “very hard to speak slowly” for her.
Danielle recalled the fallout of that day being particularly harsh. “Michael starts off the notes by saying ‘Danielle I’m going to give you all of your notes all at one time at the end and I’m going to give everyone else notes now because if I make everyone sit here through all of the notes I have for you, we would all be here for hours and no one would get to go home,’” she said.
Danielle continued, remembering the impact it had. “From that moment on I remember my eyes welled up because I’m in front of everybody,” she said. “All of the producers all of the writers all of the cast and all eyes are on me for a second.” And then came the kicker, Danielle continued. Michael told her that if things didn’t change, she’d be booted from the cast. “All I know is if you don’t come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here,” he allegedly told Danielle and her mom.
But the dedicated actress didn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself, instead turning the entire thing to her advantage and securing the ABC role for herself. She says her mom helped her practice delivering her lines more slowly — and it worked. Danielle claims he literally applauded her the next day.
“He stands up and all the writers stand up alongside him and says, ‘Let’s give Danielle a round of applause,” she said. “‘You did exactly what I asked of you, thank you. Congratulations, it was wonderful.’” The show ultimately ran for seven seasons, from 1993-2000. The actress starred opposite Ben Savage in the coming-of-age sitcom.
Danielle went on to star in a spinoff called Girl Meets World between 2014 and 2017.