Prestige Hong Kong - - FIRSTPERSON -

walk­ing be­tween the thor­ough­fares of Sai Ying Pun, Artem An­she­les stands out. Plat­inum blond and blue-eyed with a pro­cliv­ity for pri­mary colours, he’s as con­spic­u­ous as a soli­tary sun­flower in a field of green.

“I came to Hong Kong just five years ago from Russia, and from that mo­ment I fell in love with the city and de­cided I must live here,” he says. Fast for­ward a mere two months and he’d re­turned with “suit­cases con­tain­ing all of my be­long­ings and an aim to study prod­uct and in­te­rior de­sign”.

As we stroll, peo­ple ask him for self­ies while oth­ers nod hello. He doesn’t live any­where nearby, but his celebrity does – An­she­les is a pop­u­lar host on a lo­cal TV chan­nel and his Can­tonese, with the di­alect’s ca­dences and baf­fling tones, has been fast per­fected.

“I at­tended Can­tonese cour­ses for a year, but I wouldn’t say that this is the rea­son why I’ve picked it up so quickly,” he reveals. “I re­frained from com­mu­ni­cat­ing or watch­ing any­thing English or Rus­sian, forc­ing my­self to lis­ten.”

When he first landed – like sev­eral of his ilk – he started mod­el­ling for cheesy com­mer­cials be­fore jump­ing on the celebrity band­wagon. “The jump was more of a climb. Lo­cal tele­vi­sion wants lo­cal stars … Around that time, there was a TV pro­gramme look­ing for peo­ple like me.” Right place, right time? An­she­les laughs. “Well I think it was more right search en­gine, right key words.”

Hong Kong, now his home, and his adopted dog Max are ev­ery­thing at the mo­ment. “I used to feel like a Rus­sian spy,” he ad­mits.

“No one knew that I un­der­stood Can­tonese. It al­ways felt good to sur­prise them with a lit­tle ngo sik teng [I un­der­stand]. The re­ac­tion is al­ways price­less.”

He’s on his way to his next ap­point­ment and his phone beeps with timely alarms, a busy work­ing man in a city that likes busy bod­ies. “I feel as if ev­ery mo­ment spent not work­ing is wasted time. I spend all my free time from work on other projects such as film­ing videos for my YouTube chan­nel or pho­tog­ra­phy for my In­sta­gram. Since I’m my own prod­uct, I spend a lot of time im­prov­ing my­self men­tally, phys­i­cally, spir­i­tu­ally. Progress is my con­cept of fun.”

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