Who is Ravita and who is RP?
Well Ravita is a Mum a daughter a daughter in a law wife and sister. Ravita is a homely person. I think through my experiences now know who I am and who I actually want to become. Ravita is a spiritual person. Religion plays a massive part in my life hence why the #morethanjustmakeup was born. Ravita is just crazy, carefree and wants everyone to be happy.
The other side of myself who is better known as #RP. That side of me is very driven and passionate and very much about female empowerment. Also it’s about Seva for others. The makeup is the tool to be able to do that. How do I listen to other people’s problems and then be able to communicate with them. Then also give them advice to potentially change their lives, whether it’s a change of direction or it could be anything. #morethanjustmakeup
People put fire in my belly and that’s how things were born; Actions speak louder than words. As the business has grown it has become clear on what I want. It gives me clear definitions for what I want in personal life and business life.
What is your day job for anyone who does not know?
I’m a make up artist and I own my own business. Ravita Pannu Ltd.
Before the Make-Up world what was you doing before that?
My last job was a reassurance officer for the Anti Social Behaviour Team. I was working for key partners such as the local authorities. My job was to put projects into place to stop offences or crime trends from re occurring. The last project I did was the theft of Asian Gold. My business had already been born, I realise that now and honestly i didn’t realise what i was building but I knew It was something. It was growing rapidly.
Going to my 9-5 job and building the business i had to leave at the right time. My daughter was young back then and of course bills to pay. My husband was diagnosed with an Illness and there was just so much going on at that time.
I was still in the mean time focused and stated to brand without even realising! For eg I didn’t want to be known as a just an ‘MUA’ which is why I never used it! I feel that because my platform is a lot bigger than just makeup! The makeup I realise now is a tool in order to get through and to support, educate and empower women. If we were to be to be really honest with each other and said “I really want you to do well” How many people would mean it? Not many at all. We live in a world where it is champagne lifestyle and lemonade budget!
Further more i also got very ill i only had my wisdom teeth taken out in the September 2014 but by December the doctors could not understand why I wasn’t healing. The weight dropped off me. Then they made see a counsellor and they soon realised it was my lifestyle I was burning the candle at both ends. I knew then I had to give up one of the jobs. I had a discussion with my husband, my marriage was also suffering as I was doing 2 jobs and simply we weren’t spending any time together. 4 years ago in January I went into work, completing my return to work after having 3 months off. I then handed in my notice. I knew it was the right time for me. I’ve never looked back.
Now Ravita you used to be a female bouncer working the doors is that right?
Yes (laughing) I did that for 2 years. I worked the doors I used to do the garage nation nights. I was such a garage head. One way of my parents allowing me to go to these raves was securing the job and getting paid. I was a bit of a fiery character back in my youth and that is not something I am proud off. The last job I did was millennium and that was at Fox’s night club in Wolverhampton. There were so many shootings and stabbings and I never worked the doors again.
What made you get into the make up world?
Make up never came into it. It was never a discussion. I started off 25 years ago doing mehendi that’s what I did. Then naturally I could do hair it made sense to me. I didn’t even charge for hair back then. The makeup side of it came in a lot lot later.
I supported to a few people in the industry I won’t name.
They introduced me to the world of makeup. They encouraged me and said why don’t you put all 3 things together. That’s precisely what i did.
No one gave me any training and simply thought I will try this. Knowing there was a massive niche in the market, in terms of customer service and offering an overall service in terms of putting all three things together. Mehndi, hair and makeup under one umbrella. I took it back to basics and I worked my ass off often working for free for a number of years.
I went off and got my diploma and studied make up from root foundation and I just practised practiced practised. If I showed you images of my work from years ago to now there’s a massive difference even I think wow! I am always learning that’s what an artist does it grows with time. You have to keep up with the trends, inspiration and influencer’s! I mean my daughter she is also is my educator when it comes to social media, My daughter keeps me current!
Who is your role model/inspiration?
My mother. All I can say is she really worked so hard and I mean really hard. She would do her 9-5 job and then her night job I can still hear that sewing machine, up till the early hours of the morning. I would get up and the food was on the table whether that was breakfast or dinner. But did I ever see my mum? No. That is because they were, mum and dad working so hard. But the dynamics in our household with my dad was very different. Alcohol abuse and doing what most men do ‘drink problems away’
Dad had so much to give his creative side is so powerful but such is life. My dad spends most of his time in India now as its easier set up my mum and dad won’t divorce. My mum was the breadwinner for many years. My mum was the dad. My mum was mum. Dad stayed home and raised me, mum went out to work my mum also introduced us to the finer things in life, we never ever went without. My determination, the drive all comes from my mum.
However you have to also be your own role model at times. I have to be my daughter’s role model. There is a reason why I brought my daughter with me today so she can hear a lot of this there is a lot she doesn’t know.
What was your childhood like growing up?
It was a very Punjabi household, food drink and lots of hot heads! Lol! My mum never did anything in the norm though! My mum was outspoken, she never said anything about you behind your back it was always to your face. I’m very much like that.I got classed as a trouble maker because we say it how it is.
I don’t want to be like ‘majority’ who say it behind your back. I’m real to your face! My childhood was a mixed one. I have some good memories and I know i have some memories locked in pandora’s box. Unfortunately in our culture we have the issues of Alcohol which is the biggest breaker within any family. If I was being honest if we talk about my dad’s generation, they migrated over here they had nothing and they made it. However the struggles such as loosing your family along the way have had huge impacts We simply don’t talk about the issues.
How did you and husband meet?
We met at a young age. We married young i was 23! Ok so let’s be honest we met on the internet. I am not ashamed to say that as Shaddi.com is very popular now. We met through a chat room he had messaged me a few times due to my user name! It was when 112 “peaches and cream” song was out and popular. My nickname was ‘peaches & cream’ He had messaged but I had no desire to marry especially an Indian boy. I never kept many Asian friends, mainly male company! Why you knew were you stood! My parents would say why don’t you have girl mates you only have boy mates. My husband Harj came into my life I remember I was dating someone at that time. However me and HP (his nickname lol) and talked for about 8 months and he then asked to see a photo of me. I wasn’t his type. Which was absolutely fine. I was bigger girl back then and not really his type! We eventually met and I knew when I met him he was the one I was going to marry. We became friends. I asked him to marry me and I got down on one knee. But he said no! What I didn’t know he was planning to propose to me in a restaurant I said no! But I was only joking and said yes (laughing) we have been married nearly 14 years and been together nearly 16.
Was he very supportive in what you do?
If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here. We are really all connected as a family. When my daughter was born she gave me the fire in my belly. Harj is my driver.
There have been times when I have wanted to pack it all in thats because I have let my emotional side takeover with my personal connections and over shadow what the business is about. Yes I have made mistakes but I have no regrets it’s made me who I am today. Harj is my everything. I am a family woman. Yes I’ve messed up who hasn’t but what doesn’t break you makes you stronger!
Things happen for a reason. I can’t change people’s view about me nor do i want to!
I have no regrets it has made me a better person today! The reason I don’t always put him on social media there is 3 things I live by you don’t need to tell anyone who you are sleeping with, your next move or what is in your bank account.
What do you love about your job?
What isn’t there to love! There are 2 reasons, one is when you have potentially got through to somebody on a mental connection! Simply listening and really honestly from the bottom of your heart wanting to help them!
The other side to it is when the bride and parents see the herself/bride for the first time, that for me is priceless. Now being a mother myself you can’t describe that feeling. The way I see it is if I can change someone’s thought process to make changes then my job is done as a human being.
Does make up in your opinion help with self esteem?
Yes! Make up is a huge mask in so many ways! I would like to think that I can read people and there behaviour ie confidence, lack of etc etc
I meet a lot of people in my job. I meet women who need a lot more than just the makeup! Its what ill refer back to #morethanjustmakeup
Make up mentoring I would like to call it. You have some women who just want to look good and there are others when the makeup goes on it changes everything. I have helped sex lives! You build relationships when a client books you for a couple of days for eg! Some girls have said that I’ve broken them down where they were so comfortable in talking to me and Reena! But yes make up does help with self esteem. It is a huge Tool!
How do you make yourself different from everyone else?
I don’t know I think it comes naturally. I don’t think my make up skills are the best to be honest but I push my myself daily. I like to ask my clients why they book me and a lot of them say I just want to be RP’d. I look at some artists and I think holy shit they are good. But one thing I thing I appreciate now is I also know we get booked simply for what the brand stands for! The brand I have built is all about female empowerment. Let’s just root for each other. I have refused clients who don’t get what my brand is about I simply don’t want clients like that, if we can’t support one another genuinely then what’s honestly the point?
What has been your main struggle in doing what you do?
My main struggle would have to be the time away from my family without a doubt. People want to see what they want to see. They think she wears nice clothes and drives a decent car. That is all materialistic. I work really really hard!
One thing no-one sees, me in my car dying for the toilet, crying that I haven’t seen my daughter or husband in 3 days, haven’t slept or eaten. But people say wow you look amazing and lost weight but it’s because I don’t have the time to eat (laughing) I have also learnt how to deal with my emotions. I have learnt to manage but myself and hubby have been through so much to get to get to where we are now. We are are SO indestructible and I am so thankful.You have to learn to whittle out the hate and especially when you think someone is your friend. I have realised there is a lot of snakes out there. Also my own actions haven’t been great. But you have to learn lessons from it. Then you move on. And become a better person!
How do you prioritise your jobs if you get more than 1 on a day?
Its first come first serve. It’s a business. I do prioritise bridal where I can but manage the diary to perfection!
I love the brand RPDivas how did that come about?
One day my daughter she was only 6 years old at the time and back then my business it was called something else “more mehndi”. I remember saying something to her and she replied “Well I’m your Diva” and then something clicked with the name. She is my ‘RPDiva’. I loved it. My daughter created it and it was born! I understood social media I was ‘hash tagging’ a very long time ago. I have people in the industry saying stop what you are doing. It’s annoying. I was like no and I know there was going to be a hype social media! I just knew it. I knew how big social media was going to be. I have had marketing companies ask me to work for them but I’m like no I work for myself.
Have you ever received any negativity in regards to yourself via social media?
Yes! Keyboard warriors what I would like to call them. Yes if it is about my work then fine. I’m not here to please anyone I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I have been referred to being too big for my boots. Which I don’t care. I always say come and talk to me have a conversation with me on why you don’t like me especially if you don’t know me personally! I will shake your hand even if you don’t like me as I know how hard it is to have a face to face conversation with anyone any be brutally honest! But I have no time for keyboards warriors! They to me are insecure! Its how you deal with it! Over the years I’ve let it destroy me, but if you took every comment to heart it would transpire!
Have you lost any friends being in the business you are in and possibly ask for personal favours and working for free?
Yeah I have lost many relationships and friends along the way! It goes back to a situation I was in previously which I won’t go into. I have battled with many because of the business. Bearing in mind my brand is all about female empowerment and supporting one another. I have lost friends. This is what I meant previously about battling personal and distinguishing personal over my business. Its tough going but i’m prepared to sit at the table alone! It is painful losing anyone! But I have learnt how to cope along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also messed up but I had to make changes. I wear my heart on my sleeve at times! However i now always listen to My gut and instinct is always right.
The right project I’ll work for free! But many discredit our industry professionally I have no room around the table for such people. I keep Personal and business very separate.
But i’ve also created some amazing relationships and had the opportunity to meet some fricken amazing human beings!
I have to mention Kudos music DJ H has been a huge help and he has helped me on the way and with my business head! In return they never have asked for anything All I do is support and encourage! Also Tej, you know who you are! (Laughing)
Honestly the support from them in my early days priceless, i have a saying ‘Never bite the hand that feeds you’ I live by that!
Who has to be the most memorable person you have styled even celebrities?
Celebrities don’t faze me. They are human too. But if I had the opportunity to style Diljit Dosanjh and I know this is sad (laughing) I am his biggest super fan I swear. I would love to style him. Jenny Johal she looked amazing also I was asked to style her. Jenny and her mum I have the most up most respect for. Jenny’s brother is the driver for her career. I used to be a giddha dancer back in the day so I get it being on stage and the labels attached to female stage dancers but Jenny and her approach was amazing. We are still connected till this day. Recently creating her look again at BBC Asian network live!
Below is a video of Jenny Johal where Ravita had styled her the #RP way:
My biggest daily celebrities are my brides, They are the real celebrities. Brides are not just paying for the makeup they are paying for my vision also.
How did you get on the stage with Diljit Dosanjh?
All I can say is law of attraction (laughing) that day Reena (my side kick) and I we were working in London. We were running an hour late stuck in traffic! I was driving and I was absolutely shattered. We had had a 14 hour day. I was lucky that we had our tickets and my amazing friend Minu wanted to make sure we got the meet and greet tickets and sat at the front we wasn’t there for free like people think we were. I had paid for my ticket.
I called my other 2 friends and said I may not be able to come and to give my ticket to my sister. Reena was like you need to go! I remember saying to the girls that we need to do something to attract his attention a few days before! On the last gig we had been too I was wearing leggings and a bespoke t-shirt
I remember Diljit saying he wished he had seen British girls in the UK wearing patiala suits. I read between the lines on that one! I remember thinking we need to dress up for the gig in Leicester. The kurta bought online, the scarf from primark- our look was born! Lol
I was gifted these Timberland boots and I remember just saying let’s dress like panj taara video. We rocked it! Diljit favourite song is the one with Gurdass Mann! We got to Leicester and waited to meet Diljit!
I had gone live prior on Facebook and once it was our turn we sung the song to Diljit ‘Hello Hello’ we immediately caught his attention . The views were going up! Diljit was wondering who we were. People thought we were part of his crew (laughing). I was still live when he started his performance and its then and he called and invited me on the stage! The platform was huge. Diljit said quickly to me. I will follow your lead. I was shitting it (laughing) I simply went for it! All I was thinking about was my jeans were really loose and I thought they were going to drop off (laughing) but in that moment I had a lot of decisions to make. I’m a married woman and I was dancing on stage with a man. I was a Giddha dancer back in the day. I remember what my father in law had said to me to stop doing Giddha dancing once I got married which I was fine about. I respect that. One thing my husband said to me was if there was man you would leave me for that is Diljit Dosanjh (laughing) I used to say I want to dance with Diljit Dosanjh and I did it!
You set up a masterclass for make up how did that happen?
Yes I have and it was a huge success! It comes with what I’m doing and I have skills and tips that could be beneficial for people on professional and non pro basis. To be supported by international brand Inglot is huge! I want people to get to know me also and what I’m about and engage! The feedback was phenomenal! I cried when my PA told me that class was SOLD OUT! Our next masterclass is already planned!
Tell me about RPDiva Bindi’s
It was born because I always wear a round bindi. put a picture up about 6 years ago with me wearing a round bindi and my inbox simply went mad!I knew there was a market for this. I spoke with friend and now business partner for #rp products and the #rpdivabindi collection was born!
What is your biggest achievement?
My greatest achievement is my daughter and the genuine human being she is becoming! The compliments we receive about her are testimony to us, she is by far my greatest achievement. She is my pride and joy!
Your relationship with your daughter is amazing its mother and daughter but its like best friends isn’t it? Your quotes you put up is mainly dedicated to you daughter which I love.
Yes most definitely. You got it in one. If anything happens to me tomorrow she can see how much I love her. I would like to think I’m an influence for her and simply her greatest role model. She has no sibling’s and I want her to feel like she doesn’t need anyone that she can sit alone at the table and be content.
People may not like it on how I raise her, but were very free spirited in our parenting approach but clear boundaries which Jumeirah respects. My drive passion is because of her! I’m raising a Queen!
You are a gym freak have you always been this way or have you struggled with your weight?
No I struggle every day! I was size 18-20 back in the day. I struggle every day with my weight and always will! I have always been a big girl. I come from a family of big girls and a family of diabetes. Thanks to a friend of mine and the year I turned 30, i decided to make changes!i was fed up of being big. I did the Atkins diet- every diet going! I wasn’t happy and I was young. I had a great man by my side and I was thinking if I don’t do anything I will lose him!But he loved me for who I was. I know to this day he would never have left me size 18 or 8! It was me who needed to change for me!
The year I turned 30 I had enough and my health was not good. I went to weight watchers and 8 years on I’m keeping it off. I am fighting to be a slimmer more healthier person. I often say I am a big girl really on the inside, lol and I am not afraid to say that either. I only have to look at food and the weight piles on! Lol
I often look in the mirror I still see the big girl. But it is the way I feel that matters. I know I have to work on my self esteem and I battle with my weight like many others. I may come across as confident but guess that is what people want to see but I’m fighting my own battles too. People don’t see that. So simply I have to be a gym freak to keep my weight off! I love food way too much!
When you take off your work hat and you go home to chill what do you like to do?
I like to just sit with my house coat! (laughing)
My social life is with my clients. I don’t like going out anymore! Way to old for social club life! My house coat if anyone who does follow me on social media is my gown and my comforter (laughing) My comfort just being at home cleaning! I’m currently project managing my house renovation too which i plan to manage from start to finish! I’m a sucker for a good mood board!
I like to cook if my friends are coming around and love a good night in with the girls!
What is next for Ravita?
I have no idea! Yes professionally business goals and projection is set but I always say simply Watch this space.
Business wise I will continue to do what I’m doing. I didn’t ever think I would have a business let alone a brand. Let’s see what happens, I go with the flow. I thank everyday yet clearly imagine my future wishes personally and professionally huge huge believer in Law of Attraction!
There was a reason why I asked Ravita to be part my blog which I’m so glad that she agreed. Firstly its her honesty. She really says it. That’s what my blog is all about. Ravita is raw in this interview and she really opened up about her life and not just about her business and the make up world. I have to say I could not believe how much myself and Ravita have in common. I just love this girl. The relationship she has with her daughter is incredible. I love how she is all about female empowerment. There is a lot of people who say yeah they are all about females but then are not around when a person should be. Ravita really tries to help the ladies out there and I really hope everyone will share and support this blog. I am excited about this due to the fact we are very much alike.