Joel Bough, Head Of Scouting At Elite London

Joel Bough began his career in the fashion industry working for magazines such as Arena Homme+. Now Head of Scouting at Elite London, his job is to find young people who could become new models, and looking after them as they take their first steps into the industry. His job takes him to concert venues, train stations and city centres around the UK - anywhere where he might spot a future top model. We sat down with him to ask him how he got into the industry, what he looks for when he's searching a crowd and what you can do to prepare for EML.

What has been exciting about EML UK this year?

EML is always exciting as we get to see thousands of applications from the public with the possibility of finding some amazing new faces. This year we held open castings at the agency for the first time as well as our UK and Ireland scouting tour with Festival Republic which was a lot of fun.

What do you look for in a model?

I don't know exactly what I'm looking for until I see it. There are a lot of beautiful people in the world but to be a successful model you've got to have a certain star quality and presence. Of course, it helps to have great skin, height and bone structure but personality is really key.

When did you decide to work as a Scout?

I had been working as a casting director for some time and one day I took a meeting with the directors of Elite London. They suggested that I would make a great model scout which I had never considered but decided to give it a try. The rest is history.

What did you study, and how did it help?

I studied Fashion Promotion at London College of Fashion. When I graduated, I became the Editorial Assistant for a men’s magazine but was always heavily involved in casting the fashion stories which lead to working very closely with modelling agencies.

What do you love about being a Scout?

I love the excitement of finding an amazing face and then helping to nurture and develop them into a star. Being a positive influence in the life of young people is always incredibly rewarding. 

What are the challenges to scouting that people don’t see?

The industry is challenging because you're working with other people's perceptions of what a model should be, and sometimes you want to debunk that completely. I do my best to push beyond industry expectations and change perceptions when I can.

How do you relax?

I like to travel, see cities and be outdoors which is something that you can do while scouting so there’s always a blurred line between work and leisure! I also like cooking and working out…I recently discovered indoor climbing which is really fun.

If you didn’t do what you do, what would be your dream job?

My dream job is the one I’m doing now! I love it. But if I had to do something else I would probably work with animals or something to do with conservation and the rainforest.

What is your advice to anyone applying to EML in 2020?

Try to take really clear pictures in natural light so we can see your features properly, the best way to achieve this is by taking your snaps outside in the garden. It’s best to present yourself as fresh as possible with minimal makeup or styling so we have an idea of how you look in real life. Lastly, always get your height measurement checked accurately rather than guessing!