With fashion week just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look into the world of modelling and what it’s like to be the man behind the most prestigious modelling contest in the world.
MEET JOSHUA L’OSTE-CHALLANS
[HEAD OF ELITE MODEL LOOK UK]
The fashion industry can be tough to crack. How did you get involved?
I trained as a Sound Engineer and ended up working at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on events, seminars, fashion shows, and music gigs such as NME, Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs. After 7 years at the Exchange, a friend of mine approached me to work for him as a Project Manager on high-end corporate events for clients like Deutsche Bank and Coca-Cola. Part of the role involved working on partnerships with local venues, one of which was Village Underground in Shoreditch. Elite had booked the Village Underground for their 2011 Elite Model Look Final. I was called in by Village Underground to help with the production when one of their team fell-through. Shortly after, I received a phone call from Michelangelo, the Head of Elite Model Management, asking if I’d be interested in a position as Production Manager for the Elite Model Look Competition.
Elite Model Look is considered the most prestigious modelling contest in the world. How does the competition work?
The Elite Model Look competition has discovered the likes of Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bundchen and Stephanie Seymour. If there is a way of getting into the modelling industry, Elite Model Look is on the top of the list. Young men and women that we scout on the streets then get thrown into the competition and an intensive boot camp where they learn everything they need to know about modelling (from catwalks to social media seminars) and then take part in the UK final. The winners get a global contract with Elite Model Management and go on to compete in the Final, giving them enormous visibility.
What does being Head of Elite Model Look entail?
I work closely with our brand partners to bring different elements to each competition. Attention to detail is crucial for my role, especially with the technical production and asset gathering (of images & film) for the grand final, all to a premium level. I’m also involved in bringing in some of our international directors as judges, printing, commissioning video editors, designers for artwork, coordinating the styling and fittings, down to the furniture and hair dryers.
What’s been your biggest career challenge so far? How did you overcome it?
Previously, when I started at Elite, I didn’t know whether I should be approaching top tier management with new suggestions and ideas. After 2 years, I feel quite privileged for them to take my comments on board and be able to contribute to those decisions now.
What’s been your proudest career moment thus far?
I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve been headhunted for my last three jobs which is all down to networking. Take someone for a coffee because until you start chatting to them, you never know what you might have in common and the potential career paths that might cross.
What are the best perks of working for Elite?
Travelling. Having the chance to go to Paris for Fashion Week or China to take part in the world final. A perk, from a selfish perspective, is that I get to work with Creatives who I wouldn’t normally have access to. Because I work for Elite, they’re lending their ear to me and a lot of those people will become long term business partners and friends; something I wouldn’t have been able to get on my own.
If you weren’t Head of Elite Model Look UK, what would you be?
I’d be a TV cameraman. Perfect example would be to go and film all of the Michael Palin documentaries, mixing travel with filming.
What would your advice be for people wanting to get into production?
Express what your passions are. If you don’t tell someone about something, then how can they help? You can’t do it on your own, you need to rely on friends, colleagues and managers to help you and 9 times out of 10, they’ll be willing to help as you’ve been upfront with them. Also, you have to be totally prepared to be working 18 hours a day for 18 days in a row. Be prepared and be willing to put those hours in because they do end up taking you to the next level.
To learn more about the Elite Model Look UK competition, visit elitemodellook.com