The name Godfrey Gao comes with godly expectations, but the six-foot-four (1.93 metre) Asian male supermodel doesn’t disappoint, least of all in person.
Making an appearance at Duddell’s in Hong Kong for Westbank, a Canadian luxury property developer who’s signed Gao on as the face of their latest project, the Taiwanese-Canadian actor/model spared a few minutes to chat about things we, frankly, had to try very hard to remember (thank goodness for transcripts).
“Vancouver’s missing buildings like this,” said Gao about Vancouver House, a stunning mixed residential and commercial building with a unique torqued exterior that’s set to reinvent the city’s skyline.
“Before I heard about it, a friend of mine had [described] it as the next hip thing that I should take a look at, invest or live in. A couple of weeks later, I got a phone call from my manager that they were looking for someone to represent the building, so I was stunned!”
As the first Asian male model in a Louis Vuitton advertising campaign and the face of SK-II Men, Gao should probably be more blasé about receiving offers like this by now. Yet despite his holier-than-thou name, he remains humble.
“My mom named me Godfrey from a book of British names,” he explained. “It’s German, I think — Godfried — and the English then turned it into Godfrey. I like it. It’s very rare and not a lot of people have that name.”
But what do friends call him? “I’ve been called God, Godfather, G, Garfield, Freegod, Yougod — basically anything related to God,” he said with a chuckle. “G is one of my nicknames that’s most commonly used though.”
With our eyes locked on ‘G’, we found ourselves stuttering, “So… you’re quite an, uh… attractive… person. How do you deal with all the attention from women?” Like the one sitting in front of you who can hardly form a complete sentence?
Looking down, Gao replied, “I’m very flattered every time I get comments [on my looks]. I really thank everyone for the support and I have to thank my parents, obviously. My father was and still is very handsome, and my mom was Miss Tourism in Malaysia, so maybe that mixes well.”
If that wasn’t enough to get you swooning, consider the fact that Gao recently rescued a trash can kitty in Shanghai (“I found it in the complex I was living in”; see the proof on Instagram) and is the proud owner of a fluffy white pomeranian, Theodore.
“I think I grew into pomeranians,” he said. “At first I knew they barked a lot and were very yappy, but then my good friend in Taiwan got a pomeranian and it was the cutest thing ever — it didn’t bark or go crazy. So I thought, hopefully I can get one just like it.”
“It turns out that my pomeranian barks but only at certain things (like other dogs) and I’ve been training it pretty well by watching Cesar Millan. It’s very friendly — a bit scared of kids but hopefully I’ll get him to overcome that.”
Good looks and a good heart, Gao has it all. But what if he’d been born ugly?
“I would probably relate myself with sport,” he said. “I grew up playing basketball, teaching kids how to play and a lot of my friends are into physical therapy and basketball camps. I’ve always wanted to be a basketball player or coach.”
Let’s just say, we have no doubt that many will be lining up for the chance to get drilled.