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Teen People - May 2000

"Gabbing With...... Rider Strong"

TEEN PEOPLE: "This may be your last TEEN PEOPLE interview as a cast member of Boy Meets World. [There's talk that after seven years, this may be the show's final season.]

RIDER STRONG: "I think that every show has sort of a built-in time clock. We definitely don't want to become Old Man Meets World! When the show is over, I think we'll go out of our way to make sure we have Boy Meets World reunions. I have this horrible fear that I'll be fine without talking to Danielle [Fishel], and then a year will go by and I'll be like, "I miss my sister." I'll be calling her out of nowhere saying, "Please see me."

TP: "You're finishing your sophomore year of college. Do your classmates treat you any differently because you're famous?"

RS: "I'm sure there are lots of really funny, wacked rumors going around about me, just because it's college and people love to talk. But I'm attracted to the people who are over it."

TP: "Do any of your friends at school watch the show, or are they too busy studying?"

RS: "I have this one friend who watches it every day. And it goes beyond his being my friend. He genuinely loves the show. He studied in England last year, and he started a Boy Meets World club there. He got all the students addicted to it. I think it's hilarious."

Ben Savage AOL Chat

November 5, 1999

HostTPHook: TEEN PEOPLE Online is thrilled to have "Boy Meets World's" Ben Savage with us tonight. Good evening, Ben!

Ben Savage: Hello, everyone!! Thank you for having me!

Question: Ben, hi. My name is Andrew K., and I am 14 years old! I just love your show! My question is: who or what inspired you to become such a successful actor?

Ben Savage: Andrew, thank you so much for your question. I started acting when I was about 5 because my brother had gotten involved in it, and it really seemed like a fun thing to try; but I never predicted that I would get the chance to be on a TV show.

Question: Ben! Hi there. I've met you several times, and we talked about scriptwriting. Do you still do that? If so, what do you write?

Ben Savage: I usually don't write scripts -- I do, however, like to write short stories and poems. This type of writing is very cathartic and a wonderful form of self-expression.

Question: Do you plan on being in any movies soon?

Ben Savage: No plans as of yet. For now I am just concentrating my efforts on the show.

Question: What goes on behind the scenes with you and Topanga?

Ben Savage: Danielle and I have a really nice relationship off the set; I am probably closer with her than anybody else on the cast. She's a very sweet and good person.

Question: Do you and the rest of the cast spend time together off set whenever you get the chance?

Ben Savage: Everyone on the cast comes from very diverse and distinct backgrounds, so when we are not filming, we usually go and hang out with our other friends and companions.

Question: Anything to say about high school sweethearts?

Ben Savage: I certainly had one for a long time. But a word to the wise: you can end up getting very hurt, so don't alter your life because of them!

Question: When you and Topanga first kissed on "BMW," did you know it would come this far?

Ben Savage: I don't think anybody could have ever predicted that "Boy Meets World" would have this much success. We've all been very lucky!

Question: I was at the taping when Merlin died. Sorry. Ever consider getting a ferret? They're wonderful pets -- and they live up to 10 years.

Ben Savage: Thank you for your sympathy. Merlin (my fish) was replaced by Pablo and Junta -- both wonderful replacements.... But I say, "Long live Merlin!"

Question: Hi. I'm Liena. What's your favorite part of being on "Boy Meets World"?

Ben Savage: Liena, although this may seem trite, I really just am enjoying the experience. It's been such a blessing getting to be on a television show for the past seven years, and I have always been taught to enjoy it while it lasts -- because one day you might wake up, and it won't be there.

Question: Aloha, Ben! What do you like to do in your free time? Are you single?

Ben Savage: I recently broke up with my girlfriend, so I am making my way back into the "scene".... But it is very hard being single when you have gotten used to having someone special in your life.

Question: Hi! I heard that "Boy Meets World" is ending soon. Is that true?? And if it is, when? I really, really, really like the show, and I've been watching it since I was 7 and the show started. Thanks!

Ben Savage: People keep on saying that the show is going to end, but I honestly have no idea. I thought the show was going to be over after our third season. It just goes to show that you never can tell.

Question: Do you feel overwhelmed when girls in public say you're hot?

Ben Savage: Girls never say that.... I am always the nice one!

Question: Hi, Ben. What's your best moment on "Boy Meets World"?

Ben Savage: It's hard to pick out one single moment over the course of seven years. I don't think there has ever been one defining moment that truly "made" the experience. There are little moments out of every day that make me love it more and more!

Question: Is your job fun?

Ben Savage: Of course it is. Otherwise I wouldn't do it. The people, the experience and especially the food!

Question: Do you like your fans?

Ben Savage: I love 'em! They keep me employed... but on top of that, it always make me feel so special when people come up to me on the street and tell me that they enjoy the show -- it's like I am contributing to their happiness, and I love that.

Question: What sort of story lines would you do for "BMW" if you had your pick?

Ben Savage: I like the direction the show is heading in right now. Cory and Topanga are going through a very interesting story line after they get married tonight on the show -- sort of like a younger version of "Mad About You."

Question: I like that you said you like food! What's your favorite?

Ben Savage: To pick a favorite food would be like picking my favorite fish... impossible!

Question: Do you think that fame has changed you at all? If so, for better or for worse?

Ben Savage: My parents get all of the credit for this one. I don't like to think of myself as famous, and I certainly have not been treated like that by my parents. They just look at me as good old "Benny." I'm their little boy, but I am certainly not some famous celebrity in their eyes. I like to think that I have always been kept grounded by the people who love me.

HostTPHook: Ben, thank you so much for joining us tonight! Any parting words?

Ben Savage: Umm, thank you, everyone, for all of your questions. Have a good weekend! Thank you, HostTPHook! Bye-bye!

HostTPHook: Thank YOU, Ben! I hope everyone is rushing to their TV sets to watch "Boy Meets World" right now! And afterwards, check out Keyword: TEEN PEOPLE!

''Twist Meets Girl''

And we're glad we did. 'Cause Danielle Fishel rocks. Here, she tells all about her hot co-stars, her secret crush, and her biggest passion (and it's not a guy!).

Danielle Fishel wants to cut her hair off. Well, not totally off-she'd like to chop it to her chin and dye it blond. But that's a problem 'cuz Topanga, the character she plays on Boy Meets World is known for her long flowing locks. Her fans love them. Some even worship them. And the show's producers want her to keep her hair long. But when it comes down to it, Danielle won't waste any time and energy worrying about her 'do. "I don't count on my hair always looking wonderful," she says, "It's just hair!" Spoken like a true down-to-earth chick-- and that's the best way to describe Danielle. She's no stress, no fuss, and all fun. She's an 18-year-old star who doesn't let fame go to her head. Recently, we chatted it up with Danielle about shopping, boys, a secret boyfriend, and plenty of other, well, stuff.

You've been on BMW for six seasons. How do you feel about playing Topanga?

I absolutely love playing her. But she wouldn't be my first choice of a character to play.

Why not?

She's given up too much of her life for Cory. She gave up Yale and that's something I'd never be able to do.

What's the set of BMW like?

We're all big goofballs. We hang out, tell stories…We're always doing embarrassing stuff to each other on the set.

Which guy on the show would Danielle like?

Hmmmm... I'd say Eric (Will Friedle) is Danielle's taste. He's so goofy. I always end up with guys who are fun.

Hey, didn't you date Matthew Lawrence in real life? How did you two first get together?

Yep. The first day we started working, he was very shy. I was the one who invited him to lunch. We started hanging out all the time and became good friends. And then we just started dating. We had a great relationship, but it's hard to date someone you work with.

Speaking of dating, tell us about one of your worst dates.

Well, I dated this guy for a couple of months. He's an actor and he's gonna be so mad when he reads this, but he was younger and lived in Burbank, California, and didn't drive. and it took me forty minutes to get to his house. I always had to drive his butt everywhere! And he had no ambition. He was a complete slacker and moocher.

One of your best dates?

It has to be when my current boy friend and I were in different parts of the same state, and he surprised me. He asked me to pick up something for him at his hotel. When I went to his room and opened the door, he was there!

You're totally close to your family, right?

Very close. My mother is my best friend.

How do you spend your spare time?

On the weekends, my best friend Jamie and I go shopping. My favorite thing to do is shop.

Where do you like to go shopping?

I love bebe, Planet Funk, Nordsrtom. Oh, and sometimes I like the stuff at Contempo Casuals.

Describe your style.

Classy, but funky. Also, I'm a Spice-Girl-shoe-wearer, 'cause I'm totally love wearing platforms.

What girl celeb would you love to spend the day shopping with?

Drew Barrymore. I think she's beautiful. And I love her style.

What guy celeb would you love to work with someday?

There are a couple, but Leonardo DiCaprio is my first choice. I think he's incredibly talented.

I heard through the grapevine that you had a major crush on him. True?

I was obsessed with Leo for a long time. But I'm kinda over the Leo thing.

What's your weirdest fave food?

Cold pizza. I don't like it hot. When my mom orders pizza, I'll stick it in the freezer before I eat it.

Your plans for the future?

I'd like to study psychology when I go to college, work with children, run a day care center, travel, learn the guitar.

Wow! That's a lot. What about kids?

Three: 2 boys, 1 girl. I put my order in.