A photographer hired by Fiji Water helped create the viral 'Fiji Water Girl' meme because no one was drinking the bottled water at the Golden Globes

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI WaterThe ‘Fiji Water Girl’ stole the show at the Golden Globes.
  • “Fiji Water Girl” stole the show on the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Sunday.
  • Many people may not have realised that the photographer who caught the photobombing model carrying Fiji Water was actually commissioned to photograph the Golden Globes by the bottled-water brand.
  • While the photographer was told to get shots of celebrities drinking Fiji Water on the red carpet, she changed plans and had the Fiji Water ambassador creep into the background of shots.

A new twist has emerged in the saga of the Fiji Water Girl.

Kelleth Cuthbert, a model and Fiji Water ambassador, stole the show at the Golden Globes on Sunday as she appeared in photo after photo on the red carpet.

While the shots may have seemed to have happened by chance, they were actually part of a strategic campaign by Fiji Water.

“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,” Fiji said in a statement.

Read more:
‘Fiji Water Girl’ went viral at the Golden Globes – and it’s part of a brilliant marketing strategy more than a decade in the making

Fiji water girlStefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI WaterRichard Madden, upstaged by the Fiji Water Girl.

The bottled-water brand has appeared in the background of numerous awards shows, fashion shows, and other events in recent years.

But Fiji Water might have slid under the radar at this year’s Golden Globes, had a photographer commissioned by Getty not changed her plans at the last minute.

According to a Getty representative, a photographer named Stefanie Keenan working for Getty Images Studio, the company’s commissioned-content brand, was there to take photos intended to “elevate” Fiji Water. The bottled-water brand’s brief said her priority should be to get photos of celebrities holding or sipping Fiji Water, with or without straws.

However, because of the chillier weather in Beverly Hills, no one was actually drinking the water, according to Getty. Celebrities on the red carpet were posing for a perfect shot, typically holding nothing but a clutch or perhaps an equally famous co-star – but not a bottle of water.

“She was limited to a very small area of the carpet but came up with the idea to have a Fiji brand ambassador creep in to some shots,” Kirstin Benson, Getty’s vice president of global entertainment, said in an email to Business Insider.

“The stars aligned, the ambassador was great at deadpan, people started picking it up online, and it caught on, leading to fantastic engagement for our client!”

Camilla Belle fiji waterStefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI WaterCamilla Belle, featuring Fiji Water Girl.

The shots of Cuthbert lurking in the background broke the mould for what many people expected from red-carpet photos. Typically, even photos from events commissioned by a brand (as Fiji has done for years) feature the product and ambassadors in a much subtler manner.

Getty Images Studio photos appear on Getty’s website to download alongside other photos from the Golden Globes. So many people may not have noticed that the photos on social media and in articles were commissioned by Fiji.

Not everyone has been thrilled by the focus on Fiji Water on the red carpet. The actress Jamie Lee Curtis described it as “blatant promotion.”

“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,” Curtis said in an Instagram post. “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.”

Fiji Water, the Golden Globes, and Getty did not respond to a request for comment on Curtis’ criticism.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.