If you don't remember Kelleth Cuthbert off the top of your head, Google her name and look at a few photos. The actress/model/influencer is on Instagram, sure, but the real treat come from photos on the red carpet of the 2019 Golden Globes.
Cuthbert is the viral sensation in a blue dress, armed with a tray of delicious water that became known as the Fiji Water Girl. She became a bit before the awards were even over, spreading online due to her appearance in numerous photos from the night behind names like Kaley Cuoco, Heidi Klum, Amy Adams, Alyssa Milano and many more. Her presence was felt across the board and people online loved it.
One year later and on the eve of the Golden Globes, it is only right to look back at the moment and how it blew up into a guest starring role on The Bold and the Beautiful, a lawsuit against Fiji Water and appearances on talk shows like The Late Late Show with James Corden, Entertainment Tonight and Good Morning America. It even earned her a trip to the Super Bowl.
Looking back, Cuthbert had no clue she had become a viral sensation on the red carpet, telling PEOPLE as much following the show.
"I had absolutely no idea what was happening because I obviously didn't have my phone on me," Cuthbert told PEOPLE. "I felt very cut off from everything. I didn’t find out until the last stragglers of the red carpet were heading into the awards ceremony, and all these people walking by started shoving their phones in my face and showing me that I was trending on Twitter, but I didn't understand the magnitude of it till later."
But once she found out, she took advantage as much as possible. So did her employer for the night, Fiji Water, who took note on social media and highlighted her "ominous" photobombing skills. Cuthbert credited this to her decade as a model and knowledge of how to look for the camera. She also credited the sheer number of photographers at the event.
"There’s tons of photographers everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you stand, you’re in the crossfire of every shot," she explained. "You’ve gotta have good face, at least, if you’re gonna be hovering in the background frequently."
Still, her time as a photobombing red carpet ninja with a tray of water wasn't all rosy. She made an enemy of Jamie Lee Curtis, though not on a personal level.
"I specifically moved away from the blatant promotions by Fiji and Moet where young women with their trays filled with their wares stood near a designated camera. I knew why there was a photographer poised there and I moved away as I said out loud that I didn’t want to be doing advertising for either," Curtis wrote on Twitter last year, despite her efforts failing.
Cuthbert also eventually ran afoul of Fiji Water, filing a suit shortly after the awards due to cardboard cutouts of her likeness showing up without her consent according to court documents at the time. The company would later claim that she attempted to "extort" the company by claiming she was "pressured" into signing away her likeness before the awards show.
"[T]the complaint filed by Fiji Water today is an obvious publicity stunt to counter revelations of Fiji Water's unlawful actions. However, Kelleth will not be bullied by Fiji Water, the Wonderful Company, or its billionaire owners," Cuthbert's lawyer said at the time. According to TMZ, the case is still pending.
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Fiji Water isn't a brand sponsor for this year's Golden Globes, though the "Fiji Water Girl" isn't the one to blame. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association had a 2-year contract with the company and decided to move on now that it was over. Instead, Icelandic is the brand of choice due to it being "environmentally conscious" and will donate water to a cause chosen by the HFPA according to Variety.