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Hong Kong profile: King Chiu and Dominic Ho – the 'nam mo' male models

They’re big – and they’re just getting bigger. ‘Nam mo’, aka pseudo male models, has become the buzzword over the last two weeks ever since they stole the headline at the Hong Kong Book Fair 2013.

Written by
Arthur Tam

These juicy male models with muscles, pecs and abs are on the rise – and they’re coming ‘in’ at a time when the busty figure of the female ‘lang mo’ is on its way ‘out’. And King Chiu (趙勁皓) and Dominic Ho (何浩文) are two of the ripped hot ‘nam mo’, who have launched the amazing phenomenon. 

It all started when a mysterious Mainlander, dubbed Boss Lau, forked out a whopping $2,486,400 at the Book Fair on the entire initial stock of semi-nude photo books from three fairly new nam mo studs: Chiu, Ho and Gym Gu. A total of 24,000 books were snapped up by the buyer. The story hit the headlines and the three beefcakes’ names were forever etched in nam mo history – particularly as the fair has traditionally seen the lang mo and her photo books in the spotlight, like Chrissy Chau and her iconic tome, Kissy Chrissie

Chiu and Ho say they didn’t see it coming – but they were delighted with the attention. “I was quite shocked and amazed,” says 25-year-old Chiu, whose photo book is King of V-Line (because, yes, he has an insane V-Line). “I was worried it wouldn’t sell because people usually appreciate female models more. There’s just a bigger market for female sexuality in Hong Kong. But these days I see a change. Ever since A&F came and actors like Eddie Peng and Nick Cheung started showing off their bodies, people are beginning to appreciate male sexuality as well.” Ho, whose photo book is called Dominic’s Kandy Krush, agrees. “I had a fan who came up to me who bought 20 of my books,” says the 25-year-old. “I was so pleased – but at the same time I was thinking ‘this is crazy’. It really seems like this generation is paying closer attention to guys, which is levelling out the playing field and, of course, helping my career.”

Who are these crazed fans? “When I modelled for A&F,” says Chiu, “it was pretty balanced between men and women – but now, after the photo book, it’s mostly men. I have a lot of gay friends and I think that gay guys are generally pickier and have higher standards for what they like. So if they like me, it’s a good thing!”

Before becoming a model, Chiu studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong while working freelance as a personal trainer. After graduating he went into business and started up Causeway Bay’s Beijing Home restaurant with friends, which is about to open up two new eateries. Sounding similar to Angelababy’s career? “In my case it’s a bit of the reverse, though,” admits Chiu. “I started these business ventures before I gained any fame. I’ve only been an official model for nine months. I’m really into business and I’m going to open up a gym soon called King Fitness.”

As for Ho, he was originally on the path to becoming an accountant. After returning from his studies in England, however, he started teaching street dance classes and was discovered by personality group Bro 5, which he joined. Since then, he’s become a rising star. “My real passion is singing,” he says. “If one day I can’t walk, I’ll still sing. I actually don’t know if I have the air of a model, mostly because of my physique. I mean King is seriously cut and has a six-pack model body. I kind of just have a four-pack. I’m more of a performer.” 

The tides are turning and though boobs are probably not going to be traded in for pecs any time soon, we suspect there’ll be more opportunities for young chaps to embrace their sexuality in Hong Kong. Starting off as a young model here can be a path into the celebrity spotlight which has worked well for the likes of Chrissie Chau and Angelababy. “It would be cool if we were the male versions of them,” chime Ho and Chiu together.

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