Godfrey Gao

Taiwanese actor and model traded his hoop dreams for a shot at stardom

CLAIM TO FAME

The 28-year-old Gao was the first Asian male to star in Louis Vuitton ad campaigns; he’s also been featured in ads in fashion mag Numero. He’s appeared in several Taiwanese TV dramas, including “Bull Fighting” and “The Queen of SOP” and films like Tsui Hark’s “All About Women.” On Aug. 21, he’ll co-star as Magnus Bane in “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” based on the YA series of novels.

BIG BREAK

He was playing basketball at Capilano U. in Vancouver, but returned to Taiwan over the summer. “My brother’s friend worked at a TV station, so we went in; the producer of a show asked if I wouldn’t mind taking some photos for his wife, who was a talent agent. Next thing I know, I’m en route to the agency. I wanted to play basketball professionally, (but) my mom told me this opportunity for acting only comes knocking once, and I had to take it.”

HAIRRAISING EXPERIENCE

“After I grew some facial hair, I looked a bit older and I guess that’s what the modeling world wanted because I started booking more luxury brands.”

HOW TWEET IT IS

“I recently got a Twitter account, and I love to take pictures and share on the social networks. I try to do a little bit in both Mandarin and English, maybe add a little Russian, Spanish, French. There are a lot of followers worldwide.”

GETTING UP TO SPEED

Gao says the pace of work is different in Asia than in North America. “In Asia, it is very hectic — there is no overtime, no holidays, no weekends. It’s pretty rushed because they are trying to cut the deadline,” he says. “I realized for ‘Mortal Instruments,’ the schedules said we had Saturdays and Sundays off. That is not the case in China. For television, we can complete eight to nine pages per day.”

LOOKING FORWARD

“ ‘Mortal Instruments’ is definitely a start,” he says. “I hope it’s the key for me to come across to Hollywood. Hopefully I can go back and forth from the United States to Asia. I feel joint productions could be the way of the future. I’ll need a private plane to charter the international waters!”

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