Joel On Baking, Ghosts And Being Yourself

11 March 2014

We first met Joel Mignott at AMCK Models backstage at the Matthew Miller show this January. What caught our eye in addition to his striking look; were the polaroid and vintage film cameras he was carrying with him. Drawn to this, we decided to have a little sit down with Joel to find out more about how he was finding his first fashion week, modelling in general and to get a closer look at those polaroids he kept snapping. We were even lucky enough to get a quick peek at the 17 year old's ‘Memory Book’ which he carries with him. This boy is cool.

Born and breed in Leeds Joel is now studying art at The Leeds College of Art. When he isn't modelling, he spends his days obsessing about the 90’s, baking cakes, and roller-blading whereever he can. With anything he does he likes to give his full attention "like, 110%”, which is why there is no doubt we will be seeing more of him in the future.

Hey Joel, tell us what you're up to at the moment?
I'm currently at art college, The Leeds College of Art. I'm doing a two-year diploma there, and I think I'm going to end up further studying fine art.

Extracts from Joel Mignott's © "Memory Book"

You are a pretty creative guy.
Yeah, I do lots of stuff. I like stencils, stencilling and graffiti. I've also just found a new love for vintage cameras. That's my new thing now. I have also started my own little "Memory Book" of personal photos and stuff, taken with my polaroid camera. Everything is work in progress right now. Oh, and I also like to paint!

You've just finished your first fashion week. How was that?
Yeah, it started off with loads of castings which is a pretty gruelling experience. I was only signed a few months ago, so this was my first real casting experience. It's hard being the new guy, but I suppose that's my advantage at the same time, being a "new face" haha I'm fresh! I found out I got a confirmation for Matthew Miller and I was so excited, I was buzzing! I woke up that morning and I wasn't even nervous or anything. Instead of walking, I proper strutted haha. I thought I was Tyra Banks or something!

Are there any models you look up to?
Yeah, Dudley O'Shaughnessy, but I don’t know where he is now, he's gone missing but I do look up to him. Obviously Naomi Campbell too; but then closer to home, I look up to Ben Jarvis, he is doing so well. Oh, and Jacob Bird. I love Jacob! We had a night out in London together and it was fun. I really respect what he does. I love checking up on everyone on

I'm always on!
It's crazy, it's so good. Oh, and I love Jourdan Dunn. She's doing a lot of good stuff.

Images © Joel Mignott

Tell us 3 random facts about yourself.
I love festivals. I literally live for festivals. My first festival was Beat-herder, then I went to V-fest and Leeds - all in one summer. It was like two weeks of festivals which was a bit much, but I loved it. I'm off to Beat-herder again this year and Boomtown which is quite a low-key one.

Ooh exciting!
Yeah, I turn into a total hippy at festivals. I'm also going to Croatia to Outlook festival in September. I know everyone is like, "Go on a lad's holiday! Go on a lad's holiday!", but I'd never go on a lad's holiday. I'm not a lad for one, but it's just like… I'd hate it.

What else?
I'm very confident and independent. I travel everywhere on my own, I'm always the weird one who's going into town by themselves. I go shopping on my own too, I don't need an entourage to do things. I just do what I wanna do.

And the third fact...
I'm obsessed with the whole 90's culture. I've got the roller-skates, my polaroid cameras, my 90's clothes. I love my 90's music too, I grew up listening to most of it.

What type of music are you listening to right now?
Well, my favourite artist of all time is Lauryn Hill. Literally blast her music all the time. I like newer stuff as well, like Clean Bandit, SBTRKT and sampha. I've got loads. The one thing I don’t really listen to is classical music.

What's important to you?
Family, friends… friends are massively important. Best friends. If you don’t have a best friend then I really feel sorry for you. It's weird because I'm 17 and in a few years, we're all going to be living completely different lives and it'll be harder to stay in touch, but I'm definitely going to make the effort. Like, they are the people that make you happy and have the same interests as you, and you've just got to have them. They keep you happy, keep you motivated.

And yeah, family. My mum is really supportive. She pushes me to do everything, and she sets me goals and stuff.

Talk to us a bit more about your photography. You're taking photos and collecting them in a scrapbook, right?
Yeah, I just had this vision of doing something a bit cool, a bit different, and I thought that a scrapbook would be perfect. Like, to show your past, and what you've been through, so I just started creating my own stuff like I bought my polaroid camera, my film camera and although I've only been documenting my life for a month or two, it's already coming together and I can't wait to have more pages done.

And you took photos during London Collections: Men?
Yeah, during fashion week I was just taking photos of other models. Like, I got this amazing picture of Sang, but I haven't developed it yet! I really need to! My scrapbook is partly getting photos of other models and who I meet, and then partly family and friends. It's a balance between my work life and personal life. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be in this situation.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
That's a really hard question because you never know where modelling could lead you. One minute you might be doing really crap and then the next minute you might be doing really well. I mean, looks don't last forever either so after modelling, I'm probably going to go to uni and pursue art. Since I was young, I always wanted to be a pastry chef and cooking is something I really love doing, but then I worked in a kitchen and it is so hard, and the people there tend to… I don't know. They've lost the love for what they are doing and I'd hate for that to happen to me so for now, cooking has taken a backseat. I love baking though. I bake cakes about two or three times a week. Maybe I'll end up going to cookery college, I just don't know yet. I'm keeping my options open.

What do you believe in?

Oh no haha I have had friends lecture me about the "illuminati" though, but I don't believe in any of that. I kind of just believe in myself.

Would you say you're a realist then?
I don't like that word, but yeah I suppose I am. I'd say I'm quite a spiritual person though as well. I think music is really hypnotic and has many messages within it. I think that's a good way to live - listen to good music.

Do you think the music you listen to has influenced you at all?
Definitely. I quite like spoken words as well. I think it's so intriguing, it can teach you a lot of good lessons.

Do you live by any rules?
Personally, I live by a quote from Lauryn Hill, "Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need" and I think it's very true. You have to stay true to yourself. You can't keep looking to others, like a lot of people look to celebrities and social media these days and it's not the right thing to do. It's really superficial. You can't live for compliments, you've got to live for accomplishments. Another thing - my mum has always told me to set myself goals and that's always stuck with me.

How would you describe yourself?
I think I'm quite an open person. I'm not an open book, but I do like to show people who I am.

You don't pretend to be anyone else?
Definitely not. I've got my own views on life and I just do what I want to do. I'm free, and I kind of feel sorry for people who aren't free and are close-minded.

Yeah, it's not good to set your own limitations.
Very true. Just be free!

Haha okay, thank you Joel!

Interview by Sara Gilmer.
Words by Cat Wilding.

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