Intense media scrutiny over the identity of the son-in-law of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reached a fever pitch yesterday, when a photograph of Allen Tsai (蔡沛然), showing a well-toned body with six-pack abs, was splashed across local newspapers and on news channels.
Reports said Tsai was born on Aug. 5, 1980, and that after graduating from Harvard University’s computer science department in 2006, he signed a two-year contract to work for Deutche Bank AG’s Hong Kong’s real-estate unit.
Tsai also worked briefly as a model during a backpacking tour of Europe after graduating from Harvard.
According to his personal details on the fashion Web site Museu del Perfum, the 1.88m Tsai caught the eye of the agent of one of his Italian friends who suggested that he took some test shots. However, his foray into the modeling world did not last long, as he had already committed to work in Hong Kong for Deutsche Bank.
After the end of his contract with the bank, Tsai moved to New York and signed a contract with a modeling agency, the Chinese-language China Times reported, adding that he appeared in print advertisements for GAP and Levi’s in 2008, Calvin Klein, Gap and Levi’s in 2009, and Esprit and Target in 2010.
He was also a catwalk model at the Milan fashion week in June 2009 and appeared in the autumn and winter collections of Emporio Armani, where his Asian face and masculine build stood out, the China Times said.
A classmate of Tsai’s was quoted as saying that most of Tsai’s modeling pictures show him with long hair and an “artistic air,” which is maybe what attracted the president’s daughter.
Lesley Ma (馬唯中), the elder of Ma’s two daughters, was born in the US on Nov. 24, 1980. She went to Harvard and received a BA after graduating from Taipei First Girls’ High School in 1998. She later earned an MA in museum studies from New York University.