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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

fiji water girlThe Fiji Water Girl stole the show at the Golden Globes.Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water

  • “Fiji Water Girl” stole the show on the red carpet Sunday at the Golden Globes. 
  • Many people may not have realized that the photographer who caught the photo-bombing 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. 

Model and Fiji Water ambassador Kelleth Cuthbert stole the show at the Golden Globes on Sunday after appearing in photograph after photograph on the red carpet. 

While the shots may have seemed to have happened by chance, they were actually part of a very 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 girlRichard Madden, upstaged by the Fiji Water Girl.Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water

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

This year’s Golden Globes could have been a continuation of the same trend, if a photographer commissioned by Getty hadn’t have changed her plans at the last minute. 

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

However, due to the chillier weather, 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 waterCamilla Belle, featuring Fiji Water Girl.Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water

The shots of Cuthbert lurking in the background broke the mold for what 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 more subtle manner. 

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

Not everyone has been thrilled by the focus on Fiji Water on the red carpet. Actress Jaime Lee Curtis slammed Fiji Water for what she called “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. 

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