The biggest star of the 2019 Golden Globes wasn’t Gaga or Sandra, but Kelleth Cuthbert, a thirtysomething model from Toronto who is now best know by her alter ego: Fiji Water Girl.
ICYMI: The Fiji brand ambassador became the year’s first viral sensation after appearing in the background of thousands of red carpet snaps. Here, she weighs in on her post Globes fame, her favourite bomb, and why — paging the Academy! — she’d totally be up for hosting the Oscars.
Two days ago you were Kelleth Cuthbert, Toronto-bred, L.A-based model, and now you are world famous Fiji Water Girl. What has it been like?
It has been absolutely insane. I honestly haven’t even had time to process it. I have spent the last two days talking with media and just kind of enjoying the ride.
When did you first realize you had become a viral sensation?
Well my job had two parts that night. After the red carpet, I worked the HFPA [Hollywood Foreign Press Association] after party, which was back stage, where the celebrities came to get their awards engraved. I noticed that all of these people were taking selfies with me. They wanted me to photo bomb. At first I was a little confused and then I thought, okay, this is a thing. I need to get home and check social media.
Still, you must have realized you would be appearing in a lot of red carpet shots. What do you make of the idea that this was a publicity stunt?
My goal was to get the water into the hands of as many people as possible. I was aware that I was in some pictures, but there were so many photographers everywhere, so no matter where you’re standing you’re in someone’s frame.
Best photo bombing tip?
It’s all about sneaking into the shot. If they know that you’re there it’s a lot less funny. And you’ve got to serve looks to the camera — a little direct eye contact goes a long way.
Anyone regrets about who you didn’t get? Gaga, for example.
No. Like I said, I wasn’t trying to photo bomb anyone, but looking back I wish I had bombed more.
Did you have any celeb interaction or is the Fiji Water Girl a silent part?
There’s a little bit of chit chat, but people on a red carpet tend to be on a mission.
And I’m guessing celebrities don’t get their own water.
That’s true. I usually approach the publicists.
There are so many good ones. I love the one with the Kim Kardashian champagne photo. The one where she has the champagne on her butt.
From one internet breaker to another.
Right. Those are big shoes to fill.
Yes, big shoes.
You definitely have the name for a celebrity. Is Kelleth your birth name?
No. My birth name is Kelly. Kelleth was my high school nickname and it just stuck.
A lot of models dream of becoming actors. Is that you?
Yes. I’ve done some acting work. Some commercials and PSAs and a few music videos. I did two music videos for the Arkells.
Yahoo Finance estimated that your viral fame is worth $12 million in advertising to the Fiji water brand. Any chance you’ll be getting a bonus?
I hope so! Working on it.
What might the overnight celebrity be worth to you personally?
Honestly, it’s so overwhelming still. I would love for it to lead to more work opportunities. I’ve already gotten a lot of new modelling offers and once this calms down I’ll see what else.
Will you be reprising the Fiji Water Girl role any time soon? What about the Oscar red carpet?
I’m definitely free. Just putting it out there.
And this time Lady Gaga won’t get away.
Ha! I have so much regret about that
Super into it. Super available.