Charisma Carpenter previews SURVIVING EVIL
Charisma Carpenter has a new role: host and part of the creative team behind Investigation Discovery’s latest real-life series SURVIVING EVIL. The show follows real-life stories of how victims of violence fought back against their attackers and, against the odds, survived. The show is told in their own words, and presents a look at true-crime stories where the victims get the upper hand on the attacker. Herself a victim of a terrifying attack some years back (the story told in the first episode of the series, which aired last week), I spent time chatting with Charisma about what’s coming up on the show, why people should use this show to get educated about safety, and where her true passion lies.
Tell me about where the idea to do a show came from.
It was something that I was looking to develop, and talked to a couple of production companies, and it started falling apart. Word got out to ID that I was interested in that, and so they approached me with Cineflix and had some really great ideas on how to tell the story in such a way that I liked. In a way that wasn’t sensationalized or exploiting victims in any way. It was through the words of the victim, and my words themselves. I find that so compelling – just a camera on a face of a person telling their story. It’s very raw and real. I don’t know, I’m just so proud of it. I’m excited.
You should be – there’s been a lot of buzz about the show, people are talking about it. What can you tell us about some stories that we might see coming up?
The stories continue. Unfortunately, they do get dark. I think we do know that in every episodes that they do survive, but it’s amazing to hear the stories of the thought processes that went on by the survivors, and how they survived. I think that’s what we see hereafter – yes, we know they survived, but how? In learning their stories and what they’ve overcome, and then we get a wrap up of where they are now, which gets me every episode.
Has been developing the show and talking with people that have also survived ordeals like yours – is it therapeutic, for you, for them?
I think for me, I feel that there has been a lot of time that’s passed since what happened to me. I’ve done a lot of work. I really just have compassion that have survived these situations, but I don’t go through reliving my own stories, or theirs. I’m proud of them, and inspired by them really.
Why is this a show that people should tune into?
I think with every story, there’s a cautionary tale. Maybe in my case, I speak for myself – being more aware, watching the news more. I wasn’t aware that there was a serial rapist. Red flags are important. Trust your gut; if you’ve got a bad vibe, don’t go with it. Keep your head out of your phone when you’re walking to your car. You can go on investigationdiscovery.com and learn more about what your safety skills are, and see where you stand with your knowledge of safety. I hope viewers get out of it that they are inspired not by these terrible things that happened to these people but the amazing resilience of these people.
Talk a bit about developing the show, and how that compares to being an actor on set with less input?
I think it’s very different. You have more of a say, and I like that. I have more of a creative input, I like that. I still have a lot to learn and look forward to probably producing more as time goes on.
Would you be interested in developing another drama or heading back to television?
Not at this moment, in that sense. My ideal thing would be going back to television outside of what I’m doing already with ID, would be a fantastic part on TV.
What charities are you working with these days?
I am pretty active on social media, and talk about the three things I am involved in the most. One is the Ronan Thompson Foundation, raising awareness of pediatric cancer; the Thirst Project which deals with the international water crisis; and Bethlehem Parents School in Kyotera, Uganda. They need a lot of support right now, and we’ve done fundraising to get them beds, but really, they need food, and support. Clothes, they need a lot of stuff. I sort of adopted 650 kids over there in Kyotera, which is the birthplace of AIDS. When you have compromised immune systems and you’re not getting fed but one meal a day, it’s a difficult situation. I know that it’s far away, and a lot of people don’t care about what’s happening in Africa, but that’s really what my passion is. You can donate to Bethlehem Parents School – go to elevareinternational.org/bps.
SURVIVING EVIL airs at 10/9c Wednesdays on Investigation Discovery.