Coles College Graduate Grows Social Brand to Inspire Others
She's Got the Beat
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 25, 2018) — In her signature bowtie and red-tipped hair, Jasmine Manuel moves quickly – 6 miles an hour, in fact. Her chair’s wheels may spin underneath her 3-foot, 4-inch frame, but it’s her entrepreneurial spirit that drives her to hone her talents and inspire others along the way.
Born with osteogenesis imperfecta type 3, also called brittle bone disorder, Manuel has the most severe type of the genetic condition that affects height, bone formation and muscle tone. She has broken more than 100 bones and has undergone 24 surgeries.
But the 22-year old, who graduates this week in entrepreneurship, hasn’t let that get in the way of her ambition.
“I knew I couldn’t play sports,” said Manuel, who took piano and voice lessons as a child. “I treated music like a sport and put every effort into it.”
Her ability to produce music started in high school when she discovered music-making computer software. Her creations began to blossom when she arrived at Kennesaw State, where many students wanted to create rap music, she said.
“It wasn’t super serious, it was just fun,” she said about her digital music efforts. “People said I was good, and then I thought, ‘This really might be something.’”
Since then, Manuel has made more than 100 beats. Each beat is a musical composition that combines various instrument sounds, such as percussion and piano, and is programmed solely on the computer. In 2013, she uploaded one to YouTube, branding herself as “Mini Producer,” a name that she said defines her.
“I’m fun-size,” she said. “And that name just came to me one day.”
Four years ago, Manuel sold her first beat on bandcamp.com. Last year, she gained even more attention when she won a producer contest sponsored by an Atlanta recording studio.
“It’s been super humbling, all those times I wanted to give up,” she said. “It’s nice that someone believes in my sound and I’m grateful for that.”
Perseverance is a strong part of Manuel’s personal commitment, and as her roots deepened in music production circles, she soon discovered her academic calling at KSU.
“The first class I took was called Entrepreneurial Mind, and in that class I knew it just felt so right,” Manuel said. She also took courses within KSU’s Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program.
"Jasmine is highly coachable and is always pursuing a better version of herself. Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious,” said Chris Hanks, the founder and executive director of the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center and lecturer of management and entrepreneurship.
Last year, Manuel also began creating her own fitness videos on social media platforms under her exercise brand, Roll Out Fitness. Her fitness regimen includes Insanity Max 30, a program of 30-minute, high-intensity workouts.
“Everyone thinks a person who works out should look or be a certain way,” Manuel said.
She hopes to break that perception and those stereotypes while sharing chair-based workouts with her fan base.
Individuals experiencing life in a chair began reaching out to Manuel through social media, thanking her for providing the online videos and telling her how much she has inspired them.
“It’s less about me and more about other people,” Manuel said. In December, a crew from UK-based Barcroft Media came to campus to film a documentary about her bone disorder and her workouts.
Though Manuel never set out to be an inspiration, she was intentional about sharing her story, especially for “others to see someone like me working out,” she added.
The entrepreneurship major now has more than 16,000 followers and subscribers combined on her Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. She has also been featured on blogs and pages with more than a million followers.
“It’s amazing how quickly social media can take you,” she said. “I’m now more of a personal brand.”
While at KSU, Manuel has been involved with Owl Radio, Night Owl Productions, Fashion Show and Black Girls Rock, as well as the LGBTQ Resource Center. She has also worked on campus, most recently in the library doing some audio work.
While she will continue to make beats and fitness videos, Manuel said that her future career path holds much promise once she leaves Kennesaw State and she’s excited for the possibilities.
“I know that things are going to happen for me, and that once the seed is planted, things will start growing,” she said.
– Tiffany Capuano
Photos by Lauren Kress; Video by Rob Witzel