Brandon Gray, model and DeMatha grad, makes acting debut in Carly Rae Jepsen video

March 19, 2013
HANDOUT IMAGE: Model BrandonGray. (Photo credit: Justin Violini) FOR ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO SALES.
Brandon Gray. (Photo credit: Justin Violini)

All the Catholic school girls from Prince George’s County must be regretting the chance they missed with Brandon Gray. The DeMatha grad is suddenly a star of sorts, thanks to his role in a new Carly Rae Jepsen music video.

“It was pretty challenging,” the 21-year-old model told us about his wordless acting debut in the video for “Tonight I’m Getting Over You,” which features him canoodling and feuding with the “Call Me Maybe” pop star in various stages of clothing. “I’d never met her before, and 20 minutes after meeting we had to go into this shoot and start making out.”

But after a couple of takes, Gray got over his initial nervousness. “It felt so natural and fun, I felt like we were a couple for the day. Until her boyfriend showed up.” Ah, Method acting!

The video is closing in on 10 million views, and if that seems like a lot for a song that hasn’t had much U.S. airplay, apparently it’s huge in Ireland and Canada.

Or maybe his mom’s just clicking a lot? She’s the one responsible for this career. The Hyattsville native says he was a late bloomer — “I was 5-5 and chubby, braces. I was not a model. I was a dork” — until a senior year growth spurt. One day when he was 17, his mother Betty Gray called to him from another room.

“My mom was looking through a magazine,” he said. “She held the magazine up to my face and said, ‘I think you’re better looking than this guy.’”

Okay, you want another photo of Brandon Gray, right? (Jonathan Skow)
Okay, you want another photo of Brandon Gray, right? (Jonathan Skow)

Granted, she’s his mom. But a photographer friend agreed, as did a modeling agency, and so Gray postponed college plans (“college is always going to be around”) to jet off to New York, Paris, London, Singapore. He’s mostly done photo shoots; at 6-foot-1, he’s too short for runway work, believe it or not. He moved to L.A. a year and a half ago and is now taking classes, hoping to make the jump to acting. Judging from the YouTube comments, he may be on his way.

“I had to delete my Instagram: Millions of little teenage girls were adding me,” he said, “And I don’t want to mix business with my personal life.”

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Roxanne Roberts | March 18, 2013