CHILLICOTHE – She’s young. Smart. And accomplished.
“I’ve always been a determined, ambitious type,” said Khayta Diongue. “If I were to describe myself, I would probably say a homebody, professional, lover of plants and vinyl records.”
“As a kid,” she continued, “I definitely dreamed about giving back to my community, serving God, and helping others in the best way imaginable. I originally planned on going into business management at OCU, but later realized my true passion for film. I’ve always loved movies/TV more than most, but the art of it is truly what fascinates me. It wasn’t until the second semester of my sophomore year, that I decided I wanted to be a cinematographer.”
Today, Diongue is the owner, creative portrait photographer and videographer for her business called Khayta Photography And Film.
“I specialize,” she explained, “in creative photoshoots, social media management, fashion/editorial work, weddings, seniors, families, couples, cinematography, events, sports/athletic coverage, and websites.”
Khayta Diongue, pronounced Hi-uh-tuh, Zshong, grew up in Chillicothe. Her mom is originally from Kansas and her dad is from Senegal in West Africa. She graduated from Ross County Christian Academy in 2023, just two weeks after turning 17, making her RCCA’s first ever student to graduate a year early. She graduated a member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society – actually, the list of her clubs and extracurriculars is extensive.
“I started taking college-level programs as early as middle school, including Senegalese language (Wolof) and business programs,” she said. “College-wise, I decided on New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts for film and television production with a minor in creative writing. I’m currently taking a gap year before starting my first semester in fall of 2024.”
“From the fourth grade,” she continued, “I’ve had a passion for writing, and I definitely could see myself screenwriting on projects in the future. My freshman and sophomore years, I wrote two novels, ‘The Coroner’ and ‘Left In The Dirt,’ both psychological thrillers. I also have planned a seven-book series that I anticipate to put to paper in the future. Furthermore, I’ve created Volume 1 of the ‘Khayta Photography And Film Magazine,’ which comprises ten issues.”
“My passion for photography began in the sixth grade,” she added. “I would take pictures on my first phone of landscapes and lovely things in nature. When I started selling decorative paintings, I also sold pictures I took downtown with my iPhone 7. I didn’t give it much thought at first, but during my sophomore year of high school, I got a camera and from that point forward everything changed.”
Meg Gerber is owner of Paper City Coffee and co-founder of The Paper City Mentoring Project.
“Khayta is one of the most talented and brilliant young people I have ever encountered,” assessed Gerber. “She has a deep sense of creative vision and the unique ability to see it come to life. Since I met her as a middle schooler, she has been pushing herself to learn new skills, grow her artistic capacity, develop a business sense, and produce work that people can connect with. She is a force to be reckoned with and I have no doubt she will be a leader and innovator in a major capacity someday, as she already has proven to be one in our community.”
“I definitely didn’t see myself with the career I have now, even two years ago,” noted Diongue. “More than anything, I want to let all know I would not have been able to do this without God, my family, my friends, my school, and the Paper City Mentoring Project. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to get to a point in my life, at seventeen years old, to where I have the ability to share my passions with others.”
For more information about Khayta Photography And Film, log on www.khaytaphotographyandfilm.com.
About the Series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.