Elena Delle Donne becomes a YouTube star during quarantine

Delle Donne dabbles in cooking, mini golf, and even hairdressing

Like many of us who are lucky enough to be healthy and able to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne has devoted some of her free time to new hobbies.

The 2019 WNBA MVP is documenting many of her quarantine adventures on a YouTube channel she launched on April 24. (The channel also has videos from her time with the Chicago Sky, the 2016 Olympics, and with the Washington Mystics.) Here are some of the highlights:

BakEDD

On April 24, Delle Donne released a trailer for her new weekly cooking show for kids, “BakEDD.” The video starts with Delle Donne standing in her kitchen in her red Mystics uniform, which is then magically transformed into a chef’s outfit, complete with the classic white hat.

Delle Donne asked her teammates for suggestions on what to bake when the team gathered on Zoom on April 26 to watch the championship-clinching game of last year’s WNBA Finals. LaToya Sanders offered up a pecan pie coffee cake recipe, but Delle Donne went simpler for her first episode: Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies.

In Episode 1, Delle Donne is in her kitchen, this time sporting a red chef’s hat. There is even a Delle Donne name plate, like the one above her locker at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, above the microwave, although she takes the name plate down partway through the video.

Delle Donne claims she’s a novice at baking, but she makes some expert moves in the video, including pre-measuring and lining up all of her ingredients and twirling a mixing bowl on her finger like a basketball. She also reminds her audience to wash their hands and that adding more chocolate chips is never a bad choice. But her wisest statement might be, “Always check the oven before preheating it. You never know what your little brother or little sister might’ve put in there.” (Spoken from experience??)

While Delle Donne mixes her ingredients, she asks the audience how they have been staying busy during quarantine. She tells viewers that she has been going on lots of walks with her dogs, filming videos on Instagram, and doing Zoom calls with teammates.

A special guest arrives to take the cookies out of the oven and conduct the all-important taste test. You’ll have to watch the video to see who it is, but here’s a hint: the guest is “grrrrreat” (and so are the cookies)!

The early reception to BakEDD has been similarly positive. Mystics teammate Aerial Powers commented on Instagram, “So here for this!!!!<3” Delle Donne’s agent, Erin Kane, posted an Instagram story of her 7-year-old daughter baking using Delle Donne’s directions. Even Mystics owner Ted Leonsis has taken notice, requesting Greek food in a future episode.

The second episode of BakEDD will be released on May 6 at 7pm ET. Delle Donne revealed on Instagram that she will be making “Olaf JelloTreats,” referencing the snowman from Frozen, as her next recipe.

Quarantine Mini Golf

This video, also released on April 24, was likely inspired by Delle Donne’s love of golf. Elena sports a blue sweater, plaid pants, calf-high white socks, and sneakers for her round of mini golf, and her wife Amanda is off-camera as the perfect play-by-play announcer. The “holes” are Red Solo cups and the obstacles consist of stuffed animals and workout equipment. There is even an Elena bobblehead presiding over the fourth hole.

It’s no spoiler to say that Elena dominates the course, much as she does on the court. “Wow, what a start for this Cinderella story from Delaware,” Amanda says after the opening hole. It’s not until the third hole, though, that Elena starts to show some emotion, blowing the imaginary heat off of her club after a good shot.

On the fifth and final hole, things get interesting. Amanda describes the set-up as “where the course architect appeared to have ran out of workout equipment and used a shovel.” Elena also takes an unconventional approach to putting but, naturally, nails the shot. “What an athlete! Is there anything this woman can’t do?” Amanda asks.

Salon Delle

Yes, actually, there is something that Elena Delle Donne can’t do: dye hair.

On April 29, Delle Donne published a video that chronicles how she dyed her friend Kathy’s hair blonde. Kathy explains that she decided to go to Salon Delle because “I went on Yelp and it had one star. And it didn’t have zero stars, so I came.”

The process goes awry from the start, as the proportions of the sink and chair Delle Donne is using to wash Kathy’s hair do not make for a comfortable setup. “We can’t put this video out,” Delle Donne says through both of their laughter.

After Delle Donne’s work is done, Kathy models her new hair from all angles, with Delle Donne encouraging her to really show off her roots and the top of her head. In her postmortem interview, Kathy reveals that Salon Delle uses box hair color from the grocery store and “man, do they just [paint it] all over your hair,” with no highlights. She adds, “Would I recommend this to a friend? No. I don’t even think I would send my enemies to Salon Delle.”

Incredibly, Kathy did return to Salon Delle on May 3 – this time, to have her hair curled. It goes about as well as her first appointment:

Other Activities

While Delle Donne’s YouTube productions have certainly kept her busy, she has also been up to a few other things in the past month:

  • On April 20, she showed off her shoe collection, including the Nike sneakers she wore on the Olympic podium in 2016.
  • On April 27, Delle Donne and her family celebrated sister Lizzie’s birthday. Elena and Lizzie’s special relationship has been well-documented, including in a 2015 article Elena wrote in The Players’ Tribune and in a 2019 HBO video.
  • Delle Donne is featured in a remake of the classic “Be Like Mike” Gatorade commercial, which first aired on May 3 ahead of new episodes of the ESPN documentary The Last Dance. Delle Donne, a lifelong Michael Jordan fan, is avidly watching the documentary. “I’m just in awe of the whole thing,” she said on April 26.
  • Delle Donne has also publicly thanked healthcare workers and applauded Washington Nationals player Ryan Zimmerman and his wife Heather for their charitable efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

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