‘Fiji Water Girl’ Sues the Water Company for Profiting From Her Image

Everyone remembers the promotional model for Fiji Water at the Golden Globes who is known as the “Fiji Water Girl.” This was the model who gained notoriety (and some lucrative job offers) by photobombing almost everyone on the red carpet.

In a twist of irony, Kelleth Cuthbert (real name, Kelly Steinbach) is now suing the company that helped her become famous. But not for any frivolous reason. It turns out Fiji Water’s marketing department might not exactly be on the up and up.

It seems that Fiji Water started an entire marketing campaign using Steinbach’s likeness, apparently without her permission.

According to the lawsuit, Steinbach claims that she never signed away the rights to”Fiji Water Girl” never authorized the use of her image. However, the suit alleges further that Steinbach was heavily pressured by the company to waive her rights through fake documents and elaborate gifts. Steinbach claims that she has generated $12 million in brand exposure for Fiji Water and wants the campaign to cease and is suing the company for monetary damages.

Well, can’t say I blame the girl. If a company was profiting off my image, I’d want a cut, too. I mean, if you’re going to stick a cardboard cut-out of someone’s picture outside a Hollywood grocery store, yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that that person might not appreciate you profiting from their image without any sort of payout.

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5 years ago

Wait, this story is baffling. Did they pay her to pose with the Fiji water bottles? If not, why did she do it? I find it hard to believe she just decided that it would be fun to walk around with Fiji water bottles while a company photographer took her picture, and she was surprised and shocked to then learn that these pictures were used in ads. If they did pay her, then what is her complaint? That they made more from the advertising campaign than they paid her? Well, duh. Did they pay her the amount they agreed to… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  jay

Usually how these live promo/ambassador jobs work for models is that they sign on for a day (or however long the event is) for a set pay rate and are responsible for presenting the product in a good light and informing the public about the product at the venue/event. The agreements for these projects are way different than a commercial project and signing on to be a part of a live event promo project does not include any sort of commercial usage rights. They are 2 different world’s and they don’t mix unless something goes really well and the client… Read more »