Desert Smash Benefits Charlize Theron's African Outreach Project

Desert Smash at La Quinta Resort. Photo Jill Weinlein

During the kick off of the 2024 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, award-winning actress, producer and philanthropist Charlize Theron was at La Quinta Resort hosting this year's Desert Smash Charity Celebrity Tennis Event.

Born in South Africa, Charlize Theron serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and is the founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to investing in the health and safety of young people living in Southern Africa to create a more equitable future for all.

Desert Smash with Charlize Theron. Photo Jill Weinlein

Theron is a tennis fan and social player, and told the crowd of spectators what she also says on the nonprofit's website, 'Young people have always been the drivers of social change. And this generation holds unique promise.'

This year's event for a good cause had an array of exciting silent and live auction items that tennis fans bid on in-between entertaining matches.

Priceless items that went to the highest bidder included:

US Open Player For The Day Experience at the 2024 US Open with quarterfinal courtside seats, and a backstage tour of the player locker room to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 2024 Laver Cup Berlin Tournament at Mercedes Benz with two full tournament hospitality packages with seats to all five sessions over three days.

Premium seats at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open Finals, and two-days at Madrid Open Tournament Experience for two people with roundtrip seats on Delta Airlines and three nights at The Edition Hotel in Madrid.

Surprise Guest at Desert Smash Novak Djokovic. Photo Jill Weinlein

For 20 years, Desert Smash has brought together Hollywood royalty and elite professional tennis players together for charity. As this year's host, Theron had the opportunity to play a little doubles with Men's Tennis No. 1 ranked player in the world, Novak Djokovic.

Another highlight of the day was watching Theron and Frances Tiafoe Jr. play doubles. Both were charismatic on the court entertaining guests with their comments overheard on their microphones.

Charlize Theron and Frances Tiafoe. Photo Jill Weinlein

Frances Tiafoe Jr., nicknamed 'Big Foe' was ranked No. 10 in 2023. He is one of the most loved American professional tennis players with his big smile and personality.

Tiafoe won his first of three ATP titles at the 2018 Delray Beach Open, becoming the youngest American man to win a tournament on the ATP Tour since Andy Roddick in 2002.

His Sierra Leonean parents immigrated to College Park, Maryland where his father was a maintenance man working at the USTA regional training center. Living at the tennis center, Frances took advantage of the tennis courts and picked up a tennis racket at the age of four, along with his twin brother. They practiced tennis daily, and soon Frances progressed to the Juniors, and later moved on to the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton. 

Tunisian Tennis Player Ons Jabeur. Photo Jill Weinlein

Tennis fans were happy to see the personable Ons Jabeur. Her WTA career-high ranking of No. 2 was achieved in June 2022. She is currently ranked No. 6, and is the No.1 Tunisian tennis player and highest-ranked African and Arab tennis player in WTA and ATP history.

Ons and tennis professional Frances Tiafoe hugged while walking down the carpet at the beginning of Desert Smash. They chatted and smiled while the paparazzi took photos.

Norway's Tennis Player Casper Rudd. Photo Jill Weinlein

Casper Rudd came out onto the court to play a little exhibition doubles. Rudd is No. 9 in Men's Tennis ATP rankings and the highest-ranked Norwegian tennis player in history and first Norwegian man to win an ATP singles title. He has won ten ATP Tour singles titles and finished runner-up at three Grand Slams at the 2022 ATP Finals.

Dobel Tequila Ace Paloma

Maestro Dobel Tequila is the official tequila of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, and at Desert Smash. With a hospitality suite at Desert Smash and outdoor pavilion at BNP Paribas Open, the brand offers an array of refreshing signature cocktails.

The Maestro Dobel Tequila menu at the Desert Smash event featured two signature cocktails - Ace Paloma and Fritzy Spicy Margarita. Fritzy is named after American professional tennis player and Dobel Tequila Brand Ambassador - Taylor Fritz.

Those who want to make an Ace Paloma at home served on the rocks can follow this recipe:


2 oz Maestro Dobel Tequila Diamante Cristalino

4 oz Grapefruit Soda

.50 oz fresh lime juice

Fresh black lava salt around the rim

Grapefruit wedge 

Dobel Tequila Margarita with Guacamole and Chips. Photo Jill Weinlein

The Dobel Tequila hospitality room near the main tennis court stadium at La Quinta Resort provided ticket holders with traditional margaritas and plenty of guacamole and chips.

For those looking to spice things up, here is the Fritzy Spicy recipe:

2 oz Maestro Dobel Tequila Diamante Cristalino

1 oz Lime Juice 

2 Slices of fresh Jalapeno

Garnish with black lava salt, a lime wheel and one slice of fresh jalapeno

Serve on the rocks.

Jill Weinlein

Los Angeles based Jill Weinlein covers travel, food and lifestyle destinations for multiple newspapers, magazines and websites. Her areas of expertise include, luxury travel, culinary reviews, cruising and family travel destinations. Born in Los Angeles, Jill studied Communications and Theatre Arts at UCLA. She has a a Dine and Travel blog - and she writes a weekly restaur...(Read More)

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