Meet Joel Bough, Head Of Scouting At Elite London
Joel Bough is the top agency scout in Elite London. Working with the wider New Faces team, he oversees trips to find new talent both in the UK and around Europe. Once discovered, he the works with the young people he scouts to develop them into models with the New Faces agents, teaching need-to-know essentials on catwalking, photography, finance and wellbeing.
Originally training in fashion journalism, he began his fashion career as a stylist, working as Fashion Editor at noted London fashion titles Arena Homme Plus and Another Man. He then sidestepped into casting, working in house at magazines, with independent agents and landing the top job at Elite London.
With an experienced eye on the high fashion catwalks and editorials, Joel now scouts for talent across the fashion roster for Elite, from high end through to commercial and social media stars.
We sat down with Joel to find out what it takes to blend this instinct for what’s next, Elite Model Look UK and the practicalities of constant travel.
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 travelled around the country to many of the UK’s top festivals in search for potential stars. We also have plans for an instore scouting pop-up at one of Europe’s biggest retailers.
What do you look for in a model?
We don’t really know what we are looking for until we see it. To be a successful model you've got to have a certain star quality and presence. Of course, it helps to have a great look that translates well photographically, but personality is also 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?
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 led 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 of beauty 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 Elite Model Look for the first time?
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!