How a Reality TV Star Built a Thriving Influencer Agency

Alyssa Lopez fosters authentic collaborations

The talent roster of Key Influencer Agency reads like a who's who of reality TV.

Just a few of the personalities recruited by CEO and founder Alyssa Lopez include:

  • Survivor winner Michele Fitzgerald, who is competing on the current season of The Challenge.
  • Big Brother alums Claire Rehfuss and Derek Xiao, who coupled up to win The Amazing Race.
  • Big Brother winner Jag Bains.
  • Wes Bergmann, a three-time winner of The Challenge.
  • Josh Martinez, a regular competitor on Big Brother and The Challenge.

"It's by influencers for influencers—there's no middleman," Lopez says of her company, which provides UGC creation and social media management services.

Lopez was able to wrangle so many stars in part because she's one herself, having competed on Big Brother and The Challenge. In fact, Lopez, who previously co-owned a swimwear company, came up with the idea for Key when she was competing on The Challenge USA.

"I'm an influencer myself. So I thought, why not make money with people who genuinely love doing it?"

Key's roster consists of 80 percent reality stars, but its growing lineup also includes model Briana Smith and fitness gurus Jacklyn Romano and Brian Pruett.

The business has taken off quickly, too. Since launching in May 2023, Lopez and her team have worked with McDonald's, Raising Cane's, Pretty Litter, Curology, Skechers, The Farmer's Dog, GameTime and Manscaped.

In an industry where influencers are often exploited or undervalued, Lopez takes care to ensure a positive experience for both creators and brands.

"I don't want them to feel like they have to be handcuffed to my agency. They're more than welcome to get their own brand deals, their own managers. I'm not trying to be in charge of you. I'm just an extra source of income for you."

"I'm only going to pitch them to brands they genuinely like," Lopez says. "We pride ourselves on connecting influencers with brands in an authentic way, not in a forced way. I make it a point of only pitching people that I know can help the brand."

That commitment has led to some creative and impactful marketing, including a collaboration between Big Brother's Matt Turner and Pretty Litter. Turner, famous for his DIY skills, made a video for IG in which he built a designer litter box enclosure for his felines. He shared how monitoring Pretty Litter made him aware that one of his cats had medical issues that needed to be addressed.

"Brands love him," Lopez says. "He's a good client to have for sure because he puts his heart and soul into those videos."

Big Brother's Hannah Chaddha and Rachel Ward from The Circle recently collaborated with Raising Cane's, a fast-food restaurant both of them frequent. "When I see them super-excited, or they're like, 'Oh my God, I've been dying to work with this brand,' or they ask me about a brand and I get them that deal, I just enjoy that so much," Lopez says. "To help out people that I genuinely care about or want to see thrive motivates me."

Last June, a number of Key influencers, including Amazing Race winners Will Jardell and James Wallington, who are married, and Breydon White, who competed on Canada's version of Big Brother, did a Pride Month collaboration with Verb Hair Care and grooming products company Every Man Jack.

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