In her own way, Stacey Dash has had a very unconventional life. She became beloved worldwide for playing best friend Di to Alicia Silverstone’s Cher in Clueless. Over the years, though, she became known more as a divisive political figure. But recently, it seems she’s trying to repair her image and has even apologized for some of her past comments.
So, what happened to Stacey Dash, and where is she now? We’ve got the full breakdown over where she has been and where she is going.
Early rise to fame
Like many stars, Stacey Dash knew that she wanted to be an actor from a very young age. She appeared on St. Elsewhere as a teenager and later had roles on shows such as The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
While her TV career was growing, her real goal was to break into movies. And she began starring in mostly forgettable movies in 1987 with the film Enemy Territory. It would be eight years later that she became famous worldwide thanks to starring in the 1995 film Clueless.
From here, she had a steady career that included the 1996 TV show adaptation of Clueless that ran for three seasons on ABC and UPN. But her fame as an actor never really rose much higher, which might explain her unexpected shift into politics.
Unexpected political shift
It’s not entirely clear what made Stacey Dash change her politics so dramatically. In 2008, she was a staunch Barack Obama supporter and even rocked one of his bumper stickers on her BMW. But when Obama was up for re-election, she decided to support his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Dash received extreme backlash from fans and fellow actors, and she seemed genuinely surprised at the reaction. In 2012, she told CNN, “I really don’t understand the fury. I don’t get it. I was shocked, really shocked. But you can’t expect everyone to agree with you.”
However, her support for Romney opened up some unexpected doors for Dash. As a black female movie star, her staunch support of conservative values made her a valued guest contributor to Fox News.
From the big screen to Fox News
On May 28, 2014, Fox News made it official. The network hired Dash as a contributor, and they expected Dash to dish on cultural analysis and commentary.
This role was something of a double-edged sword for Dash. On one hand, she received much more attention and fame as a political contributor than she had as an actor. But this put a major spotlight on Dash, and her tendency to make controversial comments often landed her in hot water.
For example, in a December 7, 2015 edition of Outnumbered, Dash said that Obama “didn’t give a s***” about terrorism, which prompted Fox to suspend her for two weeks without pay.
Dash didn’t learn much from this lesson, though. A year later, she was calling for an end to Black History Month. And in June 2016, after Jesse Williams gave a speech on BET about racism and inequality, CBS reports that Dash called Williams a “Hollywood plantation slave.”
All of these offensive comments added up, and in 2017, Fox confirmed that they did not renew her contract as a contributor.
While Dash was once famous for acting, the second act of her own story was all about politics. Perhaps it’s not that surprising, then, that she briefly tried to become a politician.
On February 26, 2018, Dash filed the relevant paperwork to run in California’s 44th congressional district as a Republican congressional candidate.
She explained some of her motivations in an interview with The Guardian. According to Dash, “I want to be a catalyst for change. I was a Fox News contributor for quite some time and I’m just done talking. I want to start doing.”
However, some former fans wondered if this was just a desperate career move on her part after roles dried up. As Dash said about acting in Hollywood, “You’re tolerated only if you fit their liberal profile. I’ve been blacklisted. I don’t even get to auditions.”
Whether this move was one of desperation or inspiration, Dash didn’t exactly tone down her offensive rhetoric. Echoing her comments about Jesse Williams, she described her political platform like this: “I want to free people from the shackles of a plantation mentality.”
Whatever her motivation, her political ambitions were short-lived. Dash withdrew from the race on March 30, 2018, just a little over a month after she filed to run.
A consistent Trump fan
In recent years, one of the most consistent parts of Dash’s politics has been her love for Donald Trump. She endorsed him as a candidate back in 2016, and she defended Trump when he was accused of racist remarks and actions.
Most shockingly, she defended the claims Trump made after the white supremacist murder and violence in Charlottesville, NC. Rather than condemning white supremacy, President Trump insisted that there were “very fine people, on both sides,” and Dash supported this claim.
“I think he’s absolutely right,” Dash said in a March 2018 interview with Ari Melber on MSNBC. “There were two extreme sides.”
However, it seems that even Stacey Dash has her limits. And after some reflection, she ended up denouncing Donald Trump and apologizing for her comments.
A belated apology
In a surprising March 2021 interview with the Daily Mail, Dash ended up apologizing for her history of offensive commentary as well as her support for Donald Trump.
According to Dash, everything came down to prolonged anger she had been experiencing. “I’ve lived my life being angry, which is what I was on Fox News. I was the angry, conservative, Black woman. And at that time in my life it was who I was,” she said during the candid interview. “I realized in 2016 that anger is unsustainable and it will destroy you. I made a lot of mistakes because of that anger.”
That anger sometimes manifested in shocking ways, including an incident in September 2019 when she was arrested for domestic battery for allegedly pushing and slapping her husband after an argument. (The charges were later dropped.)
Now, Dash insists she has changed. “There are things that I am sorry for. Things that I did say, that I should not have said them the way I said them… That’s who Stacey was, but that’s not who Stacey is now. Stacey’s someone who has compassion, empathy.” Later, she noted that “God has forgiven me.”
What prompted this major change, though? Dash said that it was the Capitol attack that was incited by Donald Trump. “When that happened I was like ‘Ok, I’m done. I’m truly done.’ Because senseless violence of any kind I denounce. What happened on January 6 was just appalling and stupid.”
Now, she has a new message for conservatives: Donald Trump “is not the president. We have a new president.” And she wants conservatives to “give the new president a chance.”
Her next move
Dash’s next major project is the anti-abortion film Roe v. Wade, about the historic Supreme Court case. Given that this movie made its premiere at March’s Conservative Political Action Conference, the politics surrounding the project are undeniable.
However, Dash insists that her accepting the role of a doctor in this movie is motivated by her own personal beliefs rather than politics. “My position on abortion is because of my own personal experience. I was on the abortion table with my son. They were about to wheel me into the operating room because I was four months pregnant.” But she says that after getting a message from God to “keep your son,” she knew what to do: “I ripped the IV out my arm, jumped off the table, very dramatic.” Her son is now 30 years old.
The interview concluded with Dash confirming she is not a feminist and that she doesn’t “believe in identity politics.”
“I don’t walk around looking at someone and saying ‘oh this is the color of your skin so therefore you are this’, or ‘you’re straight or gay so therefore you are this,'” she said.
But while she has taken a firm stance on key political issues, Dash says she is done with her past career as a political commentator.
“Working for Fox at the time, that was my job. I did my job from the place I was at. Stacey now would never work at Fox, would never work for a news network or be a news contributor,” she said.