Sanjana Ravi ’21 recently worked with her childhood idol, Selena Gomez, putting an exciting stamp on a modeling career she started just a couple years ago while still a student at UC Davis.
“I got to model side-by-side with her, which was such an experience,” Ravi said. “Growing up, I would emulate Alex Russo, her character on ‘Wizards of Waverly Place.’ I was obsessed with her.”
Ravi actually balances two full-time jobs. During regular business hours, Ravi works at UC Davis Health as a business intelligence specialist, and during off-hours she’s modeling in ad campaigns and other photo shoots.
When the makeup company Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez came calling, Ravi already had several assignments under her belt. She started modeling in 2020, just before the global pandemic hit.
“I was just trying to impress a boy at the time,” she laughed. “And I thought I should do this for myself.”
She started to take it seriously and signed with Minelli Management in Los Angeles, and now gigs have taken her all over the country.
More recently, she was hired by Nike to feature Lebron James’ new shoe. As the former team manager for UC Davis women’s basketball, she said it was another full-circle moment. When her photos appeared in Nike’s West Coast flagship store at The Grove, Ravi flew to L.A. to see them.
“It was huge!” she marveled. “The Nike in the Grove is really big, and my face is, like, an entire story. There’s also a big digital monitor playing my face.”
Still, Ravi said she really enjoys her work at UC Davis Health, where she is a digital navigator for the Care at Home Program. The new program is bringing home health care to patients with chronic illnesses and giving them in-home monitoring devices, which will yield data for Ravi to monitor.
“I just don’t see myself doing anything different. I don’t want to only go down one road,” she shared.
“Working with UC Davis Health is impactful. I’m giving back, and it fuels me. And then with modeling, I do feel like I am making a difference for little brown girls everywhere. There’s not a lot of Indian women in media, portrayed in a positive light. So I don’t think I would take one away.”