Model in Fiji Water photobomb at Golden Globes is suing company

Kelleth Cuthbert claims she's the victim of unauthorized use of her "likeness and identity" in global marketing efforts.

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By David K. Li

She's biting the hand that hydrates her.

Kelleth Cuthbert, the "Fiji Water Girl" model whose red carpet photobombing stole the show at last month's Golden Globes, is now suing the beverage brand.

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In a civil complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Cuthbert accused Fiji Water of "the unauthorized use" of her "likeness and identity" in a $12 million global marketing campaign.

Cuthbert, 31, whose real name is Kelly Steinbach, was an inadvertent star of the Golden Globes. She wore a striking blue Marchesa dress as she passed out Fiji water to stars on the red carpet.

She ended up in the background of numerous celebrity pictures as social media branded Cuthbert the #FijiWaterGirl.

Cuthbert, steadily holding her tray of water bottles, showed up in snaps of A-Listers such as Amy Adams, Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, Idris Elba, Patricia Arquette, Tony Shalhoub, Terry Crews, Jeff Bridges, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jim Carrey.

Fiji jumped on the social media sensation, designing a marketing campaign with cardboard cutouts of Cuthbert — all without the model's permission, she alleges.

Fiji Water insists it had Cuthbert's permission to use her pictures.

"This lawsuit is frivolous and entirely without merit," according to a company statement. "After the Golden Globes social media moment, we negotiated a generous agreement with Ms. Cuthbert that she blatantly violated. We are confident that we will prevail in court. Throughout our history, we have had a sterling reputation working with talent."