this is a Sexy Asian Man You Haven't Heard Of post

Asia's first male supermodel, Godfrey Gao, stands head and shoulders above most of the crew that is dressing, styling and photographing him in a studio not far from downtown Taipei, buffing his famous cheekbones and making him point his penetrating stare in the right direction. His physical presence dominates a room made gloomy by the rain outside the window, but it is starkly illuminated every couple of seconds by the photographer's flash.

This spring, for the first time in 157 years, the epitome of French luxury, Louis Vuitton, has used an Asian man to promote its products. It is a timely and prudent bow to its fastest-growing demographic – the Asian consumer, and especially the Chinese consumer.

Today, the Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model Gao is closely shaven, because he is shooting a commercial for Philips. While others have complimented him on the clean-shaven look, one of the qualities which made Gao the face of Louis Vuitton earlier this year was the fact that he generally sports a beard.

As the poster boy for the spring/summer 2011 campaign, he can be seen carrying the newest Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Elvis messenger bag. It's a man bag, that fashion item with which Western men still struggle, but of which Chinese men cannot get enough. For the record, Gao appears to use the product he endorses – a (definitely) used man bag is stashed away in his dressing room.

This all goes to show that Louis Vuitton has done its homework. China is poised to become the biggest luxury goods consumer within five years, and buyers from mainland and greater China, when counting those at home and abroad, are already the world's number two luxury customers behind those from the United States.

"Sometimes I read that I'm not 100 per cent Chinese, because I don't look all that Chinese," says Gao, taking time out from the shoot to talk in perfect English (lol). "That's a strange one – I am Chinese."

He is the only person in the studio wearing shoes, everyone being obliged to exchange theirs for slippers, so as to not dirty the set. This adds to his slightly overpowering physical presence. At nearly six feet five inches, he is so tall that he doesn't often do catwalk modeling, as many of the clothes don't fit.

Gao was born in Taiwan in 1984 to a Taiwanese father and a Malaysian mother. He moved to Vancouver when he was nine years old, coming back periodically to visit his father, a prominent businessman in Taiwan, before moving back permanently in 2006.

"I think it's great that they're using the first Asian male in all those years. It blew my mind, to be honest. I never thought I'd get this opportunity to be an Asian representative at this level. When I heard Louis Vuitton were thinking about using an Asian male, I decided to go for it," he tells me.
The choice of an Asian figure for the Louis Vuitton campaign shows that its parent company, LVMH, is in tune with current consumer patterns. Of course, the girls have been doing it for a while. Liu Wen is the face of Estée Lauder and the first Chinese model to take part in a Victoria's Secret show. Du Juan is almost a veteran, as the first Chinese model to be photographed for the cover of French Vogue by Mario Testino back in 2005.

flawless nyasha matonhodze and shirtless godfrey approve of this post