The most illustrious careers often begin with a single open door, with one opportunity to make the most of your situation.
Take Kariny Delahaye, for example. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Visual Communication and has carved out an impressive resume in the film and television industries. Delahaye has worked at the Olympics, professional football matches, and international music festivals. Her clients have included Facebook and Globosat, the largest pay-for-TV company in Latin America. Through her own creative small-business, she’s created music videos for several well-known pop stars, including Maluma, Alok, and Anitta. And most recently, a film she worked on as Assistant Editor was released on Netflix in Brazil.
It all started with the connections she made through her mentor at OKWU.
Delahaye grew up in Rio de Janeiro, her ticket to America coming via a soccer scholarship to Oklahoma Baptist University. A friend had already made the transition to OBU, and Delahaye followed. While in Shawnee, she learned about OKWU from another friend from home and thought it might be a good fit. “He was telling me all about OKWU, and it wasn’t too far from OBU, so it was perfect,” she said. “I could visit and see if I liked the school.”
Kariny did like the school, and she transferred in 2013. She’d studied Graphic design at OBU and originally intended to take OKWU’s Media Design track, but the door closed. As luck would have it, Professor Evan Hewitt showed up around the same time, laying the groundwork for OKWU’s award-winning visual communication program. Delahaye thought she’d give the classes a shot, even though she had little experience at the time.
“As a college student, it’s not easy to get that experience of a full day on a real filming set, so I remember it was really exciting. I learned a lot from that .”
“Kariny discovered she was an artist and a filmmaker during her senior year,” Hewitt said. “Once that happened, her talents in editing and story creation began to blossom exponentially.”
For Delahaye, the attraction to the material was almost instantaneous. “I was kind of surprised, and I ended up falling in love with cinema. That’s why I ended up changing [majors].”
Her favorite memories in the department are the friendships she made within the “Hollywood Squad”—the nickname students in the Digital Cinema program called themselves— as well as the practical experience she gained at OKWU. Specifically, she remembers the full-day shoots Hewitt would often direct.
“As a college student, it’s not easy to get that experience of a full day on a real filming set, so I remember it was really exciting,” she said. “I learned a lot from that hands-on experience.”
Around the same time, she began to put her skills to work on OKWU’s campus, working as a campus photographer for sports and events. She photographed campus concerts featuring AJ+CPO and All Sons and Daughters and even had a picture featured in USA Today. When she graduated, Delahaye was given the award for Excellence in Visual Communication.
Her defining open door came directly after graduation when Professor Hewitt put her in touch with a contact at the Olympic Broadcast Channel. Since the Olympics were being held in Rio that year, it was a natural fit. Delahaye traveled home for a life-changing job. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said.
When the Olympics ended, Kariny started her own small business, where she took on work doing music videos and photography. She eventually found her way as a film editor for a small company in Brazil. She worked on several films at the company, but she remembers being specifically impressed by the Netflix film when it first arrived in her editing suite.
“I remember the first time thinking – this movie is kind of beautiful, you know?” she said. “It had some real taste.”
She was still surprised when she got the call that the movie had made it. “It was one of the coolest moments of my career when I realized my name was on the Netflix credits,” she said. “I mean, it’s one of those moments you have to call your mom, right?”
As of right now, Delahaye works as Creative Director for a digital marketing agency in Rio, where she’s managing a city council campaign. It’s engaging, exciting work, and another thing to add to an already impressive resume. As for the future? She doesn’t know.
“I hope I can still be creating and doing jobs that are fun and that I’m proud of,” she said.
For Hewitt, Delahaye’s already impressive career is a sign of something else—OKWU’s ability to put students in a position to succeed in the entertainment industry.
“Her success today is a direct result of her hard work as a student and from the discovery of her personal calling in media,” he said. “She demonstrates that our students can and will succeed in the world of mainstream entertainment.”
Interested in OKWU’s Digital Cinema program? Get more info.