One of the most talked about moments of the 76th Golden Globe Awards isn’t that Emma Stone apologized for whitewashing Aloha. It’s not about how A Star Is Born was massively snubbed, either. No, it’s about Fiji Water Girl, the model who went viral after she photobombed a load of celebrities on the red carpet.
Kelleth Cuthbert is a 30-something Los Angeles-based model who satisfied the thirst of Hollywood stars by distributing bottles of water before the ceremony. She smiled for the camera along with the many celebrities who posed on the carpet and was able to squeeze into the shots of Richard Madden, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Jim Carrey, Judy Greer, and more.
“There’s tons of photographers everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you stand, you’re in the crossfire of every shot,” the model told People. “You’ve gotta have good face, at least, if you’re gonna be hovering in the background frequently.” So she flashed her picture-perfect smile every chance she got, and the internet celebrated her for it.
The one celebrity who took offense was Jamie Lee Curtis.
The Halloween star’s negative feelings toward the obvious spon-con aren’t unwarranted. On Instagram, she explained why she didn’t appreciate being forced to participate in a promotional stunt.
“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,” she wrote. “Clearly this angle shows that I moved from her being behind me and yet from the side it still happens. The sponsors of events need to get permission from people when they get them to take their picture next to products.”
Curtis made a valid point. It’s unfair that she was made to advertise a brand without her permission. No matter how comical the stunt, many of the actors who got photobombed probably weren’t even aware a brand ambassador was lurking behind the camera ready to pose alongside them with a multi-million dollar company’s product in hand.
Even if they were aware, it would’ve been rude for them to ask the model to step aside and move out of the picture. People would’ve crucified them on the web and everyone would’ve defended Cuthbert for doing her job — which she did.
The real winner here isn’t the Fiji Water Girl (although her 15 minutes of fame did afford her a spike in Instagram followers), it’s the brand she was hired to represent, which made many headlines for exploiting celebrities to do free advertising.
Hey Fiji, I’m available.