From Model to Philanthropist: A Student Profile


Staff Writer

Metro student Davanna Booker, 17, has been modeling since the age of 4. She was born in Jersey City on Nov. 3, 1999 and has two siblings.

While her mom worked six days to sustain her family, Booker started her modeling career. She was noticed by Timotheous Smart, a makeup artist and model trainer, who became her mentor.


Most of Booker’s fame is thanks to her YouTube channel, DIVADAVANNA, where she gained popularity with her thousands of hits.

Booker made her first appearance on Tyra Banks’ talk show at 9 and “America’s Next Top Model” at 10. These two shows gave her the opportunity to y to Los Angeles, California to train older youth models because she knew “how to walk like Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell.”


Last June, Booker won a fashion competition at the Associates International Model of the Year, earning a ticket to Paris.

“Paris is the house of fashion and hopefully I can walk into a show and get connections while I’m there,” she said.

But not everything is all glamour for Booker.

Back in 2011, she volunteered at a Back to School Giveaway in her community, an event which led to a bigger vision.

With some of the earnings from her fashion show, along with the help of some sponsors, family, friends and her hometown councilman, she came up with her own Back to School Giveaway event.

Booker’s first event was a complete success in 2012. She contributed 600 bags filled with school supplies to families in need. By the second year, she donated nearly 800 bags for her community in Newark.

Booker complemented her Back to School Giveaway with her book called “The Importance of Being Prepared for School,” available on Amazon. All profits will go to this program.

Booker’s last project, Pillows4Change, caught the attention of several media outlets.

Two years ago, while attending a modeling casting in New York City for a Fashion Show, Booker noticed homeless people digging through the garbage and sleeping on cardboard covered newspapers.

“I wanted to do something different and something that most teens wouldn’t do,” Booker said.

With her mother’s help and some sewing skills that she learned from her grandmother, they started to sew pillows for the homeless, senior citizens and local children’s hospitals.

All her pillows are inscribed with different phrases such as “God loves you.”

Every time Booker delivers her pillows, she said she also takes the time to talk to kids and parents to give them some comfort and encouragement, knowing that they are experiencing a rough situation.

Since she started this project, one company has

started giving her fabric to produce the pillows, but when she started all of the materials she used came from her own pocket. Regardless, she has been able to give away more than 1000 pillows in the last two years.

With so many activities going on, Booker said she is still focused on her education and will continue through her master’s degree in business administration.

Booker is not only an inspiration for others to help communities but also, to think big if you want to reach your dreams.

If you want to support Booker’s cause, follow @ pillows4change on Facebook or Instagram.