Modeling and the Midwest

Updated: May 9, 2019 | 11:40 a.m.

The two can be combined for an even better experience.

On the outskirts of the Old Market in Omaha, NE sits an old reclaimed brick building. Inside, there is a bustling scene of men and women working to make their dreams come true. The two words modeling and Midwest aren’t often found in the same sentence, but Develop Model Management is changing this.

Alyssa Dilts originally from Omaha is the founder of Develop. Dilts left her nest and moved to Chicago, IL, landing a job at Elite Model Management as a scouter in 2006. In her role as a scouter, she combed the country and world to find the next “it” girl -or boy- that the agency could represent. As she continued this position, she noticed the great talent in her hometown and how underrepresented these individuals were.

“When I moved back here, a lot of models weren’t being paid for the work that they were doing. I called it, the Wild Wild West,” Dilts says. “I’m like, wait a second, you are amazing, and you need to be compensated. These people are using your image and making money off of that. You need to be paid for that.”

And that’s exactly what Dilts did. In 2011, she opened her own agency that focuses on scouting, representing and moving talent onto larger markets around the world. But what makes Dilts’ agency different from others is that not only is it in the Midwest, but it’s also a “mother” agency. This means that Develop acts as the home base for the talent it represents. Then Develop helps their talent sign with secondary agencies around the country and the world, but no matter what they always have their models best interest in mind.

Miranda Tingley is one of many models that Develop represents.

Miranda Tingley poses for White Runway as an influencer. Photo Credit: Miranda Tingley

Tingley moved from Ohio to Omaha when she was a teenager. While living in Omaha, Tingley signed with Develop. From there, Dilts worked with Tingley to sign her in a larger market, landing her representation in Hong Kong. While living in Hong Kong she worked for some of the biggest designers in fashion including Chanel, Hermes, Giorgio Armani and more. But Tingley didn’t just stop in Hong Kong. She has also lived and modeled throughout China and Australia. Even with a crazy and hectic life, one thing throughout Tingley’s modeling career has always remained constant: her relationship and support from Dilts.

“I always joke with Alyssa because I’m always moving countries and interstate, I’m so nomadic and I just can’t sit still,” Tingley says. “But the one thing that’s been consistent through it all has been Develop.”

The benefit of being located in Omaha is that Dilts has that close relationship with each and every one of her models.

“They are not invested in you [in larger markets]. Here, you’re invested in. I know your mom, I know your dad, I know you know your grandpa over here and we ran into to each other at the grocery store,” Dilts says. “There’s this other sense of duty for me to not only do well as an agent and to make you money, but for them to have a positive experience that’s going to affect their lives forever.”

Listen to the full story to our podcast, “Everywhere in Between: Episode 4: Health and Beauty!”

Photos by Sydney Kava. Photo of Miranda Tingley used with permission of Miranda Tingley.

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