University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

Jake Davidson Embodies Ambition

By Lillian Insalata

Nina Agdal and Jake DavidsonNina Agdal and Jake Davidson

Few incoming college freshmen can state that they run their own companies. Even fewer have appeared on “CNN” and the “TODAY” show. Perhaps only one — Jake Davidson, from Sherman Oaks, Calif. — has taken a supermodel to the prom.

This spring, Davidson became a YouTube sensation after posting a video in which he asked swimsuit model Kate Upton to his senior prom. The video, produced by USC cinema student Talia Myers, went viral, garnering nearly three million hits.

In the media maelstrom that followed, Davidson granted several televised interviews, one of which was on the “TODAY” show. As a surprise, Kate Upton phoned in during the show to say that she loved the video. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts she was unable to attend. Instead, model Nina Agdal offered to accompany him.

“She was so cool!” Davidson said. “It was a lot of fun. Definitely once in a lifetime. Well, I’d assume once in a lifetime, but you never know.”

Even before Davidson was an Internet celebrity, he was not a run-of-the-mill high school student. During his freshman year at Milken Community High School, he launched electronics recycling and tutoring businesses, both of which expanded so much he had to hire an administrative assistant. In addition to running his companies, Davidson is working on a book about inspiring the next generation of young people. Recently, he and some of his friends got a provisional patent for comprehensive radiation shielding — technology that potentially could be used in the 2018 Inspiration Mars mission.

Davidson hopes to become even more business savvy through his studies at the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. However, he is keeping his options open.

“I want to figure out a way to do a double or triple major,” he said. “I probably won’t get to participate in the new Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre program, but with that kind of cutting-edge stuff, I’m really excited to see what USC has to offer.”

Davidson is also looking forward to the social and extracurricular aspects of college life. At Milken, he wrote for the school newspaper, and he plans to write for the USC Daily Trojan. He also anticipates fitting lots of football and basketball games into his sure-to-be jam-packed schedule.

“I haven’t missed a USC football game since I was five years old,” Davidson said. “My dad’s a diehard fan, so I am as well. I’m excited to finally be in the student section.”

While juggling numerous ventures, Davidson is looking for the next big thing. He’s already considering how USC can help him realize his dream of owning the Los Angeles Lakers.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” he said. “Jerry Buss (the late owner of the Lakers) went to USC, so we’ve got the same college. Step one checked off the list.”