Daria Berenato is living her best life, both in the WWE Universe and donut shops around the world.
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition”
What will always be identified with ABC’s Wide World of Sports, this iconic quote is an apt description for the sports entertainer that is Sonya Deville and the badass who portrays her, Daria Berenato.
As a WWE Superstar, Daria Berenato grabs the spotlight as one of the company’s most dynamic personalities, looking to devour her competition. Outside the ring, Berenato is always looking to devour donuts, as has been evidenced through almost two years of the wildly successful YouTube series ‘Damandyz Donuts’ that she produces with her now-in ring enemy, but still-off camera close friend Mandy Rose.
It’s exactly that appetite for donuts…and wings…and pizza…and, well, you get the picture, that compelled me to discuss Daria’s food passions with her. Owing to a travel schedule that keeps WWE talent on the road globally for much of the year, the culinary objects of Daria’s desire are always well within reach. The world is truly her donut.
How did ‘Damandyz Donuts’ originate and quickly become so popular with fans?
“It’s our baby, myself and Mandy Rose. We’ve been best friends since we started in WWE together five years ago. And we would always go to Krispy Kreme when the light was on and the donuts were hot. And we would post it on our Instagram story, not thinking anything of it. We’re both food lovers and we just love donuts. We started getting a lot of messages and people’s minds were blown by the fact that we eat donuts, I guess because we’re athletes and we work out a lot, we’re in good shape. They couldn’t believe that we ate donuts and we were like, you know, we’re people too. Life’s all about balance.”
“So we would make these videos. One time we were dancing with the donuts and we had Krispy Kreme hats on and our fans were just loving it. I think it’s because it was a more relatable side to us than what they see on TV or in the ring. I think they liked seeing a goofier side of Sonya/Daria. So we planted that seed five years ago and when we got called up to Monday Night Raw, we knew it was the perfect time to do a YouTube series.”
Recognizing that the popularity of ‘Damandyz Donuts” represented an opportunity to pay it forward, Daria and Mandy parlayed their burgeoning brand into philanthropy.
“It took off and so we decided to do a merchandise line, t-shirts, hats, hoodies, for the fans. And then we launched different items for Pride months, a whole Pride collection. We donated proceeds to The Trevor Project. We also did a collection for Black Lives Matter and donated to that cause. It’s just cool to be able to give back and to incorporate our fans into everything we do.”
With a brand fully established, might there be plans for actual Damandyz Donuts in the oven?
“Not to give away too many surprises, but in the near future, we’re working on doing that. It’s in the works. It’s further along in the process than it has ever been. We’ve been waiting for the right time when Mandy and I have enough time to put into it. Obviously it’s our baby, so we want to be a big part of the creative process and creating the donuts. Hopefully, it’s gonna come to fruition soon. It’s probably going to be available nationally via online ordering and possibly a few storefronts.”
After doing well over 40 episodes of the show and sampling donuts around the world, it would seem only natural that Daria would have favorites.
“Meche’s Donuts in Lafayette, Louisiana is one. It’s a hole in the wall, one of the best I’ve had. Just classic glazed donut. Really good. Consistency’s amazing. Dripping with glaze. And they were hot when we got them. We were obsessed with those. And also The Glass Knife in Orlando. It’s a café kind of place with lunch and pastries and stuff. They have one of the best donuts I’ve had. Incredible. Those are my top two.”
Despite the theme-specific nature of ‘Damandyz Donuts’, Daria doesn’t limit herself to the doughy treats. As a matter of fact, when I asked her if she has favorite food destinations, her response painted the picture of someone whose palate is far from limited to just donuts.
“In Brighton in the UK, a really cool beach town, there’s a diner that has this pizza I love. I don’t know why I got pizza at a diner in Brighton, but it was to die for. It almost tastes like it has cream cheese under the cheese. It’s really bizarre sounding, but it was out of this world, really creamy, really rich, and I’m obsessed with it. Also in the UK, there’s a place in Newcastle that’s an old-fashioned English tea room. You go and sit on these little booth couches and get all different flavors of teas and little sandwiches, like in the movies. Super fun. Love that place. And I also love Dublin, Ireland. Every time I go, I make sure I get a Guinness of course, but I’m obsessed with Irish coffees. Back here in the states, it’d be New Orleans for the beignets at Café du Monde. They have long lines, but it’s worth the wait. Fried dough covered in powder sugar. What’s better than that?”
If you’re like me, you’re gaining weight just reading this interview, yet Daria is able to maintain her great fitness and perform at an elite level despite the regular forays into donut shops.
“It’s all about balance. Sometimes I work out extra hard so that I can eat what I want. I like to have the freedom to eat what I want when I want. And naturally, when you have a healthier lifestyle, you crave healthier food. You just worked out, you got a crazy workout in and you know you have a match tomorrow, my body just wants good food to fuel me for what I have coming up. At the same time, if I’m craving a pizza, I order a pizza. If I’m craving donuts, I’ll have a couple of donuts. And I know that I’m going to work it off in the gym, that I need to do an extra fast cardio session. If you can figure out your body, which has taken me years to do as an athlete, you know what you can handle.”
With no post-gluttony workout to worry about, I asked Daria, a South Jersey girl, what her final meal would be.
“If it’s my last meal, that means I can have multiple things. It would be a Philly cheesesteak with extra cheese. That would be numero uno. I mean a good authentic Philly/Jersey cheesesteak because people think that just Philly has good cheesesteaks. I’m from right over the border in Jersey and sometimes my Jersey cheesesteaks are better. Then a side of cheese fries from Pat’s with the birch beer they serve. Then a side of raviolis from Maplewood, New Jersey. The best raviolis in the world to me. Two meatballs in red sauce. I need a pizza for my last meal. Bruni’s Pizzeria in Hammonton, New Jersey. Oh, wings. I forgot my wings. Wings from Pic-A-Lilli in Shamong, New Jersey, which is my actual hometown. And for dessert, donuts from The Glass Knife. I’ll do two. Two glazed.”
Spanning the globe in her prominent role as WWE’s Sonya Deville, Daria Berenato is clearly living her best foodie life. And while I have no interest in mixing it up inside the squared circle, I’d definitely give her a run for her money in the food arena.
What’s your favorite donut place? What’s your go-to donut?