Charisma was born in Las Vegas and named after an Avon perfume. At the age of 5 Charisma started studying classical ballet and was entered in many local beauty contests. At the age of 15 she moved with her parents to Mexico where she attended high school and was, like her character in Buffy, a cheerleader. After graduating from the Chula Vista School of Creative and Performing Arts, in 1988 she travelled to Europe before attending college.
Before moving to LA in 1992, Charisma worked in property management and as an aerobics instructer as well as being a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers. Her acting career started with a number of theatre productions and commercials before she landed a role in an episode of Baywatch in 1994 which lead to starring role in Aaron Spelling’s Malibu Shores.
Charisma origianlly auditioned for the role of Buffy but landed the role of Cordelia instead. The character enjoyed a two year run on Buffy before moving to spin off series Angel where she remained a regular character until the end of season four, appearing in just one episode in the final season in order to give the character the send of she deserved.
Charisma has had no difficulty finding work since leaving Angel and has guest-starred in many shows including, Charmed, Miss-Match and Veronica Mars as well as doing a photo shoot for Playboy magazine recently a TV Movie alongside former Buffy co-star, Nicholas Brendon. More recently she landed a role in action movies The Expendables (2010) and The Expendables 2 (2012) and a starring role in TV series, The Lying Game (2012-2013). She has also guest-starred on showns such as Burn Notice and Supernatural and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. She currently has three movies in post production, Mail Order Monster, Pony with a Broken Wing and The Griddle House, as well as one due to begin production, Felo De Se.
Charisma loves dangerous sports including rock climbing and has also been skydiving as well as safer activities such as horse riding and rollerblading.
Charisma originally auditioned for the role of Buffy but bagged the role of Cordelia whom she would end up playing for seven years. Ironically Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays Buffy was originally cast as Cordelia.
Charisma has a tattoo of a tribal sun on her back and a rosary on her wrist which caused some problems whilst filming Angel.