10 Questions with Elisa Donovan
The incredibly beautiful Elisa Donovan currently appears in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. She also appeared as 'Amber' in the film and TV series Clueless, and played recurring roles in the TV series Blossom and Beverly Hills, 90210. Recently she starred in the E! original movie Best Actress, and has appeared in the theatrical films A Night at the Roxbury, Save Me A Seat and Powder Burns.
Elisa was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she grew into the All-American girl: She was a cheerleader at Northport High School, then transformed in her junior ear into an art-obsessed goth chick. (Interesting combo -- do they make black pom-poms?) She attended college at the New School for Social Resources in Manhattan, and then she began her acting career (in other words, she was a waitress at Anaconda, Art Bar on 8th and Merchant's, New York). She did a lot of theatrical work, and then came a gig on a soap opera called Loving, and finally a recurring role on Blossom. Today she acts onstage and onscreen, and in her off-time likes to read, listen to jazz, play with her dog, and as you will read, drive incredibly fast.
Elisa came to Long Beach, California, to race in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a 10-lap sprint to raise money for charity. SportsHollywood caught up with Elisa at the celebrity practice at Willow Springs raceway in California on March 10, and asked a few questions.
SportsHollywood: What's the fastest you've ever driven outside of a race?
She can wreck my clutch any time. (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports)
DONOVAN: A hundred in my 540... On the way home from practice.
SportsHollywood: You're learning how to drive a stick shift for this race. How's it going?
DONOVAN: I've been practicing a lot in my own car. It's an automatic, but I pretend I'm shifting, anyway. I pretend to shift a lot when I'm sitting alone at home watching TV, too. I've gotten my couch up to a hundred and thirty.
SportsHollywood: How did you get interested in car racing?
DONOVAN: I got interested when they said there was a slot available here and I could drive! Also, when I was six, my best friend's dad was a stock car racer, and we used to watch him drive.
SportsHollywood: Which is a bigger dream-come-true: Becoming a famous actor or being able to drive over 20 mph on a street in Southern California?
DONOVAN: (Laughing) Tough call. It's a very tough call.
SportsHollywood: Which is scarier: Going 100 mph on a track or going 5 MPH on the 405 freeway with all the drive-by's?
Elisa was so tense behind the wheel that she froze in this position for the rest of the day. (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports)
DONOVAN: Definitely the freeway. Not only because of the drive-by's -- traffic jams make me crazy.
SportsHollywood: Do you plan to use a stunt man for sharp turns?
DONOVAN: Definitely. I have a man dressed in a red wig waiting in a car behind the first turn, ready to take over for me.
SportsHollywood: If Piper Perabo crowds you, will you feel any pangs of remorse if you drive her into a ditch at 100 mph?
DONOVAN: We have a bond. We have an 'inexperienced female driver bond.' It's a very real thing... but once the race starts it's every chick for herself.
Elisa records her fastest time of the day. Unfortunately, it's not in a car. (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports)
SportsHollywood: Favorite sports movie? (Excluding the tennis scene in Clueless)
DONOVAN: (Laughs) It would have to be International Velvet. I love that movie.
SportsHollywood: Favorite sport?
DONOVAN: Kick boxing. In fact I've talked to Billy Blanks and I'm going to train with him, now.
SportsHollywood: Rate the competition here: Who are your biggest threats?
DONOVAN: I'd saying that everybody is my competition. Although now they are starting to fear me.
SportsHollywood: How many speeding tickets have you gotten in the last year?
DONOVAN: NONE! Not one! How could I? I can't shift out of first!!!
SportsHollywood: Name five parts of a car engine:
(Photo courtesy of Toyota Motorsports)
DONOVAN: The Hammacher-Schlemmer... the tire... the aquarium (because I'm staring at the Long Beach Aquarium)... and, unfortunately, the stick shift.
SportsHollywood: How do you go to the bathroom in a racing suit?
DONOVAN: I gotta tell you. It's quite an effort. And I'm terrified I'll be racing and have to go. But maybe it'll help -- it'll make me drive faster. Give me that extra spurt!
Interview by Dan Mahin and Jeff Hause
Elisa Donovan: Actress
MOVIES: Save Me a Seat (2001), Best Actress (2000), Loving Jezebel (1998), A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Pop (1999), Clueless (1994)
TV SERIES: Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (2000-present), Clueless, Beverly Hills, 90210, Loving
THEATRE: "Westward Ho Ho Ho." She played the male lead (she was seven years old).
WEB SITE: The Official Elisa Donovan Site
'Ten Questions' Archive