When we think of Instagram influencers, we typically think of humans — artists, musicians, photographers, and more. But Manny the Frenchie is living proof that some of the top influencers on Instagram are of the four-legged-and-covered-in-fur variety. A French bulldog with over a million followers, Manny is a bonafide top dog on Instagram, and has done everything from posing with Dwayne Wade and appearing at the Puppy Bowl to raising money and awareness for charities all over the country.
Amber Chavez is the thumbs behind Manny’s Instagram account, so we caught up with her to talk about Manny’s rise to Instagram stardom, his off-camera personality, and his favorite charities.
How did you and Manny end up together?
We were looking for another dog and found Manny online. His breeder was trying to get rid of him because he was last of his litter and couldn’t sell him. Before she gave him to a shelter, they let us come see him and of course we fell in love!
How did you know that Manny was going to be a huge hit on social media? Why do you think his account is so successful?
I had no idea when I started his Instagram page that I’d be here today doing interviews about my dog! I saw other animals had their “own” profiles and thought it would funny to have Manny post as “himself.” Ever since we got him, he was always such a little ham, so taking photos of him is easy. It has been such a great experience and we have been so lucky.
Was there a specific point in time when Manny’s following exploded, or was it a gradual build? How did you decide to commit yourself full-time to social media?
His social pages have grown completely organically. When I started his page, it wasn’t to try and get him famous. At the time, I didn’t even know animals could be famous unless they were in a movie or show! I had no idea people would want to follow my dog.
It was definitely gradual at first until roughly 2 years in, when it started to gain momentum. I decided to dedicate my time to his social media when we started to build our website and partner with charities and companies in different ways. He was starting to be asked to travel and I wanted to make sure firsthand that Manny’s best interest was always most important. He’s a dog after all, and we never want to stress him out.
What is your process in developing a post for Manny on Instagram? How long does it take to get the perfect photo?
Manny is so easygoing and has always been a very well-behaved dog. He was super easy to train as a puppy and loves to do anything for treats! I’m constantly taking photos and videos of him anyway, so capturing content is not very difficult. It doesn’t take very long at all to get a great shot.
Where do you get the inspiration for Manny’s cute videos?
His videos are really just him being his silly self! His frenchie talk is something he’s always done and he’s been sleeping in the sink since he was a pup! I think that’s why people like him, because he’s genuinely a funny dog.
How do you choose which brands to collaborate with? Do you have any favorite campaigns?
We love to work with brands and companies that have similar missions. We got here organically and we want to stay true to our “brand.” Manny gets several requests daily and we simply can not partner with everyone. We love to give back! So any campaigns where we get to raise awareness or funds for animals or people in need are always our favorites. Manny at the Puppy Bowl was quite the experience. Adoptable puppies everywhere!
How would you describe Manny’s personality?
Manny’s personality is almost human-like! He is very curious and always wants to be with us. We call our dogs our babies, as most crazy dog people do, but Manny is seriously a little baby! He asks to be held and all.
Lightning round: Favorite outfit on Manny?
His wooly mammoth costume. He looks hilarious!
Something that Manny cannot stand?
Manny can’t stand any type of greens. I try to sneak it into his food and he eats around it every single time!
Manny’s favorite daily activity?
Sleeping on his back. He does it most of the day.
Favorite human activity?
Car rides. He loves being in the car.
Some of Manny’s favorite charities?
Manny met a girl with cystic fibrosis, it is a horrible disease, so the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has a piece of his furry heart. He also has a soft spot for his fellow frenchies, so he donates monthly to rescues like the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue and the French Bulldog Village.
Manny’s favorite treat is anything that tastes like meat! We call all treats bacon, so he’s very fond of the word.
His coolest trick is probably his frenchie talk. Not many frenchies can do it and he’s very good at it. He also knows how to ring a bell for a treat, that’s pretty funny.
What have been the biggest challenges in managing a major social media account? The biggest rewards?
The biggest challenge in running his account is not getting affected by the negative comments. It’s hard when people think you’re basically abusing your dog just because he’s taking a photo with a fan or wearing a sweater! I take very good care of my dogs and it’s hard not to take those comments to heart. The biggest reward is the people we help just from posting a cute photo or funny video. We have had many people come to us or email us to say that Manny’s posts have helped them through a tough time. It is so heartwarming to know that people look forward to his posts and sometimes it literally makes their day.
What do you hope you see in the future of Manny’s social media stardom? Any upcoming projects fans should be excited about?
I would love to see Manny on the big or small screen. He is such a character and I think he’d be a great actor. Does Ryan Gosling need a frenchie side kick? Manny’s his man!
Manny actually has his first book coming out this summer and he’s very excited about it. It’s going to be a lighthearted guide to living the good life as told by Manny. He’s also launched his very own foundation, Manny & Friends Foundation, so there will be some fundraisers this year as well.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.