Danielle Fishel aka Topanga Lawrence has written a sweet and warm memoir called “Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness.” The 33-year-old actress, who became a sitcom star on the beloved show “Boy Meets World,” is thrilled that she can reprise her character in “Girl Meets World.” Fishel spoke to FOX411 about her iconic character and her very normal upbringing.
FOX411: How come we never saw photos of you stumbling outside of a nightclub?
Fishel: I come from a really, really good strong family. One of the things that has kept me grounded is my parents were never pushing me to be in the entertainment industry. In fact they really discouraged it. They only relented because they figured, “OK, she’ll go on a couple of auditions, she’ll get bored and won’t want to do it anymore.”
My parents, as proud as they are of me, my identity was in my family and my identity as an individual was never based on what I do for a job. It’s my profession but it’s not who I am. That makes it easy for me. I don’t live in L.A. I don’t go to a lot of events. My friends are the same friends I’ve had since junior high and high school-- that helps. I don’t get carried away in the ideal of what Hollywood is. It’s a job and my life takes place outside of it.
FOX411: Still, your [ego] wasn’t [too big] when you were 15 or 16?
Fishel: I had chores growing up. I had to clean up after the dog in the backyard and I had to make my bed every morning. I got an allowance. My curfew was 10 p.m. all the way through high school.
FOX411: Though you did have one frivolous moment when you bought some expensive sheets…
Fishel: Oh my gosh. I spent $3,000 on a set of sheets! You have no idea how ridiculous I felt. I was completely out of my element. I ended up returning them. So I don’t know if they were the world’s greatest sheets or turned my hair to gold. Yeah I’m now a Bed, Bath and Beyond sheet shopper.
FOX411: It seems most of the book centers around you being the biggest klutz in the world.
Fishel: (Laughs) You know I wish I could argue with you but that is not far from the truth. I currently have a broken pinky which I broke a little over a month ago because I apparently don’t know how to walk up stairs.
FOX411: It’s pretty amazing that you get to reprise the character of Topanga.
Fishel: I can’t really believe it. I’m really excited about it. Topanga is, in my opinion, one of the greatest characters for girls and women. The fact that I was able to bring her to life once for “Boy Meets World,” and now to get the opportunity again with “Girl Meets World,” is really special to me and seeing the evolution she’s made from a strong, independent girl into being a strong, independent mother has been really interesting.
FOX411: You went back to college when you were 27. That must have been scary.
Fishel: It was scary, truthfully it was terrifying, and one of the reasons I was 27 when I went back versus 23 or 24 or 25 because it took me that long to actually get the courage to say, “I’m going to do it,” and it certainly wasn’t getting any easier as the years went on. The older I got the harder it seemed and the further the goal seemed away from me but once I really committed to it I graduated in four years.
The first couple of weeks of every semester were always a little nerve wracking but I think everybody feels that way. I just kept reminding myself that I’m not the only person who gets nervous. Once I realized I was in the exact same boat as everyone else I ended up having a great experience.
FOX411: And you met your husband!
Fishel: I did. I met my husband in college. I got a degree and a husband.
FOX411: How is it playing a mom?
Fishel: Playing a mother on the show and not being one myself, I didn’t know how naturally that maternal instinct was going to come out and what was shocking to me was how quickly I felt so protective of the kids and wanted to see them do well and succeed. I know how to read all of their faces so well. I can tell when something is bothering them. I think maybe I TV-mother them a little too much for their own liking.