'Fashion Santa': 10 Things You May Not Know About The Man Behind The Beard, Paul Mason

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By now you've probably heard of Toronto's "Fashion Santa," the handsome and stylish Kris Kringle taking selfies with shoppers at Yorkdale mall for charity.

And while he may be a new face to some, Paul Mason has been a Toronto fave for quite some time.

The 51-year-old model is a regular at World MasterCard Fashion Week (a.k.a. Toronto Fashion Week) and at TOM*FW (Toronto Men's Fashion Week) and represented Yorkdale in his role of Fashion Santa at MediaProfile's holiday party in 2014.

#mpparty crew love 😍😍😍

A photo posted by Arti Patel 🐘 (@artipatel1) on

So who is the man behind the big, white beard?

Here are 10 things you may not have known about 'Fashion Santa':

1. He didn't always have the beard.

Yes, a beard-free Paul Mason did once exist, and according to Beautygeeks, Mason didn't mean to grow his signature facial hair at all. "I stopped shaving when my mom passed away two years ago — I was a bit down," he says. "Then the beard took on a life of its own, and I decided I like the look."

2. And he finds pre-beard Paul boring
"That looks like a catalogue guy ... With that short hair ...Boring," he told the Ryersonian of his pre-beard self.

3. He's been modelling for 30 years
paul mason gap

His career has taken him to London, Paris, Tokyo, Milan and New York, and has landed him campaigns with DKNY, GAP and Dolce & Gabbana.

4. And he's appeared on numerous magazine covers

Including DTK Men, Fantastics and Australian Vogue.

5. He went to Ryerson University for social work

A photo posted by Paul Mason (@paulmasonmodel) on

And he says he would go back again to take some more courses in the same major.

6. He was scouted at a Ryerson Fashion Show

A photo posted by Rani Kim (@ranikiim) on

While walking for a year-end show at his university, Mason was scouted by a photographer from the Judy Welch agency. Though one professor warned him of the "toxic" industry he was joining, Mason went with his gut and signed with the agency. (Note: the above photo shows Mason opening for Ryerson University fashion design alumn, Rani Kim, at TOM*FW.)

7. He is the face of TOM*FW

A photo posted by Paul Mason (@paulmasonmodel) on

And is always met with roaring applause when he walks the TOM*FW runway.

8. He doesn't actually have tattoos

He told Toronto Life he spent four hours getting these fake versions all over his body, something he "never would have done" before growing the beard.

9. He has his own modelling agency

It's called Paul Mason Management and has Toronto Argonauts player, Mike Bradwell, signed to its roster.

10. He was named one of Toronto Life's Most Stylish in 2014

Aptly deemed the "Silver Fox."

And BONUS: He's super kind in real life.

Our editors can attest to that. We <3 you, Paul!

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Earlier on HuffPost:

Forbes' Highest-Paid Models 2015
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