MTSU alumna Gray’s documentary focuses on rare bir...

MTSU alumna Gray’s documentary focuses on rare birth defect

Jasmine “Jaz” Gray is shown with children’s pajamas collected through her Jaz’s Jammies project. (photo submitted)

Alumna Jasmine “Jaz” Gray, whose distinguished career as an MTSU undergrad also was marked by her wildly successful charitable project, “Jaz’s Jammies,” has become a filmmaker since graduating with honors from the College of Mass Communication in 2010.

One of Gray’s first ventures is a film titled “More Than Skin Deep,” a documentary about herself and others who survive a rare birth defect called arteriovenous malformations.

Her cinematic journey will bring her face-to-face with other survivors like her, including patients who have lost eyes and other body parts and families who have lost loved ones.

Gray, 23, who now lives in Memphis after earning her master’s degree from Syracuse University, has initiated a 46-day drive to raise funds for the film. To watch a clip of the documentary and to donate, visit and click on the green “CONTRIBUTE NOW” button through March 17.

In a news release, Gray said her film “will also highlight internationally renowned surgeon Dr. James Suen … in his urgent fight to find a cure for the destructive tangles of arteries and veins before he retires.”

Gray, who has had 32 surgeries for AVM, said she will use funds gathered during the 46-day effort to pay for production costs, including cinematography, transportation, lodging and various editing needs.

While at MTSU, Gray served two semesters as editor of the University Honors College publication Collage: A Journal of Creative Expression and was both a McNair Scholars Program and Honors College graduate. She received the MTSU President’s Award and made the USA Today All-USA College Team.

She also was honored with the Harold Love Community Involvement Award for “Jaz’s Jammies,” a drive she led to help collect pajamas for hospitalized children—a project she said originated with her own frustration with uncomfortable, boring gowns during her multiple childhood hospital stays.

Gray, a Memphis native, received a Turner Fellowship to attend Syracuse. She graduated summa cum laude with her master’s in 2011.