Entertainment

We Talked to the Woman in That Pizza Box Folding Video From 'Parasite'

Brenna Gray had nearly forgotten the YouTube video of her stacking pizza boxes as a teenager—until she received an email from a Korean film company.
February 12, 2020, 6:29pm
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Image: Barunson E&A via YouTube

Until this week, Breanna Gray's YouTube channel featured just one video, 51 seconds of footage from a job that she didn't even have by the time she posted it in late 2015. In the clip, the then-19-year-old quickly folds nine pizza boxes in the middle of a restaurant in western Ottawa, interrupted only by her younger brother who flips the camera around to unnecessarily announce that she's "making pizza boxes."

She had already moved on from that part-time gig when she found the video on an old computer, but she put it on YouTube anyway—and because the internet is weird as shit, it racked up more than a million views in a couple of weeks. Gray became an ultra-wholesome viral sensation, doing interviews with the Ottawa Sun and getting name-dropped in Canadian Pizza Magazine, which is a real thing that exists. She was even contacted by reps from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but an appearance on afternoon television never happened.

And that was it.

Our collective interest in "Pro Pizzaboxer - Super fast pizza box making" dwindled, and was replaced by whatever got our attention the next week, and the week after that. Even Gray might've forgotten that Teenage Her was still online and eternally folding a stack of Gabriel Pizza boxes, until she received an email from a Korean production company, asking if they could use her video in an upcoming movie.

"They gave me some very basic info about how they wanted to use the video in the film," Gray told VICE. "Mainly just that the family was in tough times and wanted to make boxes fast like the Western pro. I had no idea who the director was, or how big this film was going to be."

That film was Parasite, director Bong Joon-ho's masterpiece that collected four Oscars—including Best Picture—during Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony.

Gray makes an appearance within the flick's first four minutes, as all four members of the struggling Kim family try to fold pizza boxes along with her. "Wow, check this out, guys," son Ki-woo says as the video plays on his phone. "If we can go as fast as her, we can finish today. Then we can get paid."

All four of them watch the video surrounded by the Pizza Generation boxes they still have to assemble, and they wonder if they should stand up to fold them too. "She's a pro," mom Chung-sook says.

On top of getting a few seconds of screentime in an eventual Oscar winner, Gray says that she was given some actual money too—and undoubtedly more than the Kim family earned for folding that massive pile of boxes. "I was compensated," she said. "I named my price, and it took them a couple months to get back to me."

So now Gray's getting her second round of online adulation. The majority of the comments on her box-folding video are in Korean, and a number of them are a variation on the phrase "Parasite brought me here." On Monday, after her big Oscar win, she posted a second video, one that she said she made as a follow-up for Ellen's show.

And yes, even though it's been more than a decade since her brother filmed her at work, she's still pretty confident in her skills. "I competed in the Great Pizza Box Fold-Off four years ago, and completely smoked the competition," she said. "I was officially the fastest in Canada."

That's good to know—just in case somebody needs her for that inevitable Parasite remake.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.