As the light beams in from the windows you see high fashion photos covering the brick walls and a long white runway you so desire to walk on.
Inside the agency, where so many models have been before, is a tall gorgeous blonde wearing all black from her glasses down to her shoes.
Alyssa Dilts is the owner and founder of Develop Model Management in downtown Omaha.
Dilts grew up in Omaha and played volleyball until she suffered an injury from playing year-round. It wasn’t until then that she became involved in fashion.
Dilts took classes at Nancy Bounds Studios and said she did not want to go at first but ended up loving it and that it was life changing.
During that time, Dilts said she ended up enjoying being behind the camera more and started teaching classes for Nancy Bounds.
Dilts moved to Chicago where she worked as the Director of Runway Division at Factor Women (formerly Elite Model Management) and was promoted to Director of New Faces.
“My job was to travel the world, find new models, bring them back to Chicago teach them how to model, and then book them on jobs,” said Dilts.
Dilts would visit Omaha to see her family and said she knew there was no agency that could do what she could do at the level she was at. Dilts decided to pack up and move back home and open Develop Model Management.
“We work on development and teaching the models about what is expected of them as well as where they can take it,” said Dilts. “Then I use my contacts to promote them in other markets.”
Dilts said it is important for young people to travel and see the world before they settle down. Dilts is happy to pass opportunities such as traveling and being cultured to her models and talent.
The agency has helped train and launch careers of many models with the help from the classes Develop Model Management offers. Develop has models represented in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, as well as overseas.
Dilts said the very first model signed to Develop Model Management worked at Blimpie’s part time. She modeled locally and had never been payed for any modeling work.
“Within six months we had her traveling overseas, she was gone for seven months in Asia,” said Dilts. “We went to New York signed her with an agency there and she still lives there as a full time model.”
While Dilts was teaching at Nancy Bounds she also was a pageant coach. She trained the then Miss. Omaha, Brook Hudson, who now runs Omaha Fashion Week with her husband Nick Hudson.
Dilts got in touch with Hudson before moving back to Omaha to help with Omaha Fashion Week and has been involved ever since.
“Just over the years of giving my insight and opinion and mentoring and advising I think it has grown exponentially as far as the professionalism, quality of the models, as well as the shows,” Dilts said about her involvement in Omaha Fashion Week.
Develop is in charge of casting models for Omaha Fashion Week and holds a casting at Westroads Mall for each season. Over 200 models attend these model calls hoping to walk in Omaha Fashion Week.
Develop Model Management has been so successful in modeling that the agency has branched out to Develop Talent Management, which includes acting, voice overs and production.
“There is such a need for acting and talent here in Omaha, on the client side as well as people in Omaha wanting to know where they can take it and what they can do,” Dilts said.