Sexy Santa makes moms—and the Internet—swoon

A Q&A with Paul Mason, aka "Fashion Santa"

They call him "Fashion Santa" but moms — and the Internet he broke with his hotness — call him "Sexy Santa." He is Paul Mason, a model with flowing white hair and a long white beard, who is playing the role of a younger, more fashionable Santa at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”
Source: Chris Nicholls
Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”

He is featured in Yorkdale's holiday campaign wearing stylish duds like a velvet vest and skinny pinstriped pants with a black overcoat thrown over his shoulders, a burgundy blazer with a hunter's hat, white sweatpants and high tops, and a red leather coat. He's dragging a Christmas tree, jet-setting with luggage and walking with tunnels.

And the Internet can't get enough of him.

Search for "Fashion Santa," and it turns up 249 million results. And, while all 249 million may not be of him — the first five pages are all him, with just a few exceptions.

But it's not all posing and making moms and bloggers swoon. For every selfie that is taken with him and then shared using the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta, Yorkdale will make a $1 donation to the SickKids Foundation.

Even Justin Bieber stopped by to take a selfie with "Fashion Santa," which the mall promptly tweeted, saying, "Can you #beliebe it?"

Sweet Kringle high-tops, no we cannot.

We caught up with "Fashion Santa" and asked him all the burning questions the Internet is dying to know.

Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”
Source: Chris Nicholls
Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”

Is the hair and beard real? If they are, do you usually keep them that long year round?

Yes, the hair and beard are real! I will keep the beard this length until the 25th then I'll do a bit of a beard trim after the big day.

How did you get the gig as Santa? Was the ad specifically looking for a "Fashion Santa" (or, let's be honest, "Sexy Santa") or did you get that label later after moms and the Internet went crazy?

There was no posting of a Fashion Santa — no one could think of that unless one looked like that. It was a concept presented and collaborated with York dale Shopping Centre.

What did you think when you got this gig — did you ever think it could turn into this pop star-like attention and you being famous world-wide?

Never thought it would blow up like it did!!! It's been such a ride. The attention has been great for such a great cause!

Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”
Source: Chris Nicholls
Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”

What reaction do you get from kids — do they recognize you as Santa?

The younger kids don't see the difference, the older ones may question it but I'll leave it to their parents to explain. I like to say I'm Santa's younger brother, I'm by no means trying to replace the big guy.

Describe some of the reactions you get from adults. Do the moms want to sit on your lap, too?!

I feel like now that the campaign has gone viral, the people showing up to take pictures with me now know what to expect. They are looking for me now — no explanation necessary. A lot of people get all giddy and childlike. We have no throne or chair for me to sit on so this leaves no room for sitting on laps.

What is the craziest thing an adult has said/done?

Not much crazy. A few people have wanted to hold touch the beard. Some give me pics of friends to hold and pose with in a picture. That's kinda funny!

What goes through your mind when you're getting all of this attention?

Overnight this went viral! I'm a people pleaser so if I can bring some joy, even for a minute that works for me!

Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”
Source: Chris Nicholls
Paul Mason, aka “Fashion Santa”

What has surprised you the most about this Santa gig – and being an Internet sensation?

I'm delighted with how much love is out there. With the state of the world sometimes it nice to see, joy and happiness!

What do you do when you're not being Santa? (Both job and hobbies)

I'm still a working model, so that keeps me busy. Fitness and healthy living are my way of life!

What's one thing you think people would be surprised to learn about you?

I think it would be how shy I really am ...

Commentary by Paul Mason, a model who is known as "Fashion Santa" at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @paulmasonmodel.