Fiji Water Girl Kelleth Cuthbert Says She Wasn't Instructed To Photobomb Celebs
'Fiji Water Girl' was dubbed the newest meme of 2019 after stealing the show at the Golden Globes, but some feel that there's something suss about the whole thing.
'Fiji Water Girl' became the unlikely hero of the 2019 Golden Globes after she was seen photobombing celebs on the red carpet -- but since the whole thing went viral, viewers have come out divided over promoting the internet's newest star.
While many have labelled the woman's nonchalance about sliding herself into every press opp a '2019 vibe' (not to mention that Fiji Water probably gave her a hefty bonus for her efforts), others have pointed out that promoting the use of plastic water bottles is detrimental to the environment.
But before we get into that, who exactly *is* the Fiji Water Girl?
Well, turns out her name is Kelleth Cuthbert, and she's a Canadian model with a social work degree who is based in LA and has been featured in Maxim. Prior to modelling and photobombing stars on the red carpet, however, it seems she worked as a mental health and addiction counsellor.
Photobombing everyone from Camilla Belle, to Jim Carrey and Dakota Fanning -- all while handing out the Fiji Water -- Cuthbert's presence didn't go unnoticed by viewers, who dubbed her as "The first meme of 2019".
Glamour managed to track down the viral sensation, who seems to be taking the whole 'being a meme' sitch in good humour.
"I do love a good meme, so I think it’s incredibly ironic and funny that I’m one now," she told the publication. "The first meme of 2019, apparently! My husband is laughing very hard about all of this."
"This is something I would go viral for," she joked. "I feel like I’ve been photobombing people since I was a kid."
Apparently, it took a while for Cuthbert to even realise she'd become the focus of the award show across social media.
"A couple people came up to me and were like, ‘Fiji’s going viral,’" she said, adding, "I thought maybe I'm in the background of a couple shots."
And it seems that Cuthbert's own stardom has exploded as a result -- her Instagram following the morning of the Globes was 53,000, and currently it stands at a whopping 135,000.
"One of my print agents tagged me in a meme of myself," she said. "I called my mum on my break, and she was already laughing when she picked up the phone. My parents are not very hip to things going on, so the fact that they had already received this information says a lot about how viral it already went."
Viral, indeed. But among all the jokes and memes being spread like wildfire across social media is the suggestion that the entire thing -- much like the flat tummy teas peppered through Instagram influencers posts -- is one giant #sponcon, though this is something Cuthbert has denied.
"I just stand where I’m told, wherever there is an opening," she told Glamour.
"Sometimes you’re caught between a lot of cameras, so there’s a lot of photographers at different angles. You’re just kind of trapped sometimes. See that’s the thing: I feel like I was looking away, but sometimes I was looking so I could move out of the way."
Given the not-so-reputable past of the company, however, the theory that Cuthbert was instructed to photobomb stars while holding the product isn't all that far-fetched. In fact, they even released a statement via Page Six following the show, and are absolutely milking 'Fiji Water Girl' memes for all they're worth.
"The award for Best Supporting Actress in (literally) Every Picture goes to FIJI Water Girl! FIJI Water Girl is a Los Angeles-based model and first-time FIJI Water Brand Ambassador.
For more than a decade, FIJI Water has proudly maintained a presence at high-profile events, including major award shows, international film festivals and movie premieres. As the official water sponsor of the Golden Globes, FIJI Water, along with its FIJI Brand Ambassadors, hydrated guests on the red carpet and during the star-studded show. FIJI Water will continue to hydrate more of Hollywood this coming awards season.”
To add to our suspicions, while researching Fiji Water's past, Vox noted that "Fiji has always relied more on strategic product placement than overt advertising." Seemingly confirming this was a quote by journalist Charles Fishman from Fast Company in 2007 which read:
"The marketing of bottled water is subtle compared with the marketing of, say, soft drinks or beer. The point of Fiji Water in the minibar at the Peninsula, or at the center of the table in a white-tablecloth restaurant, is that guests will try it, love it, and buy it at a store the next time they see it.”
On top of Fiji Water's various shady dealings over the years it's no secret that plastic is incredibly bad for the environment, and given Australia has some of the most rigorous governances of tap water in the world, there's no reason for any of us to be reaching for bottled water.
So feel free to have a laugh at the memes -- but remember, in this day of endless sneaky social media advertisements, you can't be too sure what's actually an organic moment and what's a carefully-curated strategy that had you doing the very thing these companies wanted -- talking about their product.