The newest competitive show on NBC features two ladies who share similar experiences. On January 3, 2019, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new physical and mental challenge show, The Titan Games aired with much fanfare. Among its contestants are two alumni of Academy of Art University in San Francisco who have also turned to sports and fitness as a means of pursuing excellence.
Both Jasmin Guinn and Nikkie Neal have followed different paths that first intersected at AAU, and now bring them to compete as two of the 64 athletes chosen for the new NBC game show that is the most applied-for show in the network’s history, boasting almost 100,000 applicants. The show airs on NBC, Thursday nights at 8 pm eastern.
What are The Titan Games?
The Titan Games will pit unique male and female athletes from varying backgrounds against each other as they try to surmount innovative and challenging obstacles invented by Dwayne Johnson himself. Competitors will push their bodies and minds to the limit and winners will advance to the ultimate challenge of Mt. Olympus, the consummate athletic test of speed, strength, agility, and endurance. In each episode the male and female competitors who conquer Mt. Olympus will become a Titan.
The show’s website says, “Inspired by Johnson’s desire to motivate global audiences to reach their potential for greatness, this unparalleled new athletic competition gives everyday men and women across the country the opportunity to step inside the Titan arena and achieve the impossible.”
The Titan Games will not only test the competitors’ physical strength, but also their mental and emotional fortitude. In the end, the Titans will return to battle against one another, with one man and one woman emerging as Titan Champion and each winning a grand prize of $100,000.
Who are the AAU Alumni Titans?
Academy of Art University is proud of two recent graduates that are competing for the title of Titan on NBC’s new game show. Jasmin Guinn is a 2017 graduate from AAU’s School of Animation & Visual Effects. Nikkie Neal graduated from the Academy in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Marketing. Both have invested what they learned at AAU in their respective careers, Guinn as a 3D Motion Designer and fitness representative, and Neal as a Fitness Model.
Academy of Art University is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Creatives can gain a world-class arts education through over 40 programs in 22 disciplines ranging from Architecture to Motion Pictures to Visual Development. In addition, AAU boasts a vibrant and competitive college sports program as well as numerous connections throughout the professional artistic and industrial community that helps to connect students and alumni with prospective careers.
Nikkie Neal’s relationship with her grandfather was especially influential, although she was raised by a single mom in a family with four older siblings. “My mom was always working, my older sister kind of raised me as well as my siblings,” recalled Neal. “My mom wasn’t really around because she was always doing some type of hustle to make sure we had something on the table.”
As she became closer to her grandfather, Neal eventually changed her birth name to match his. They even continued to communicate by phone and letter when she went to college in San Francisco at Academy of Art University. Neal credits her grandfather’s death from cancer for a complete turnaround in her lifestyle, to one more focused on fitness. Now a successful fitness model, she represents a number of national fitness brands.
While struggling through the difficult days, a friend encouraged Neal to go to the gym and work out. “Whenever I have a hard time or I’m going through something, I at least know the gym will be there,” said Neal. “Even if I can’t get better in the aspect of life or I feel I can’t, I know that I can put in the work that is needed to jump higher or lift heavier or do something physical I can do better in.”
Jasmin Guinn has amassed an incredible college record as an athlete while at AAU. In her senior year, Guinn captained the winningest basketball team in program history, ranked fourth in NCAA Division II in steals per game, and earned D2CCA All-West Region First Team while solidifying herself as Academy of Art’s all-time career leader in points, rebounds, and steals.
A 2016-17 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, Guinn was the first Urban Knight to earn All-PacWest First Team in two different sports. She won twice in basketball (2014-15, 2015-16) and once in track (2014). In basketball, Guinn was named the PacWest Defender of the Year twice. She was also twice voted MVP by her coach and helped AAU win the first two PacWest Conference Tournament titles (2012-13, 2013-14). In track, Guinn competed in more than 20 meets with her top long and triple jump performances coming at the 2016 PacWest Conference Championship.
Beyond her statistical achievements, Guinn was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup in 2016, the only student-athlete to be voted ARTYs Urban Knight of the Year twice, a four-time Academic All-PacWest honoree plus USTFCCCA All-Academic Team in 2014, and she turned in more than 35 hours of community service per year in her career.
Get in on the Action!
Be sure to watch these two intense ladies in action as they compete with other athletes on The Titan Games, Thursday nights at 8 pm on NBC. And, you can watch replays of previous episodes on the NBC/Titan Games website.
Also, for more information about how you can receive a world-class arts education to prepare for an electrifying creative-based career, call or contact Academy of Arts University online.