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‘Life Has Changed Very Dramatically.’ Meet the ‘Fiji Water Girl’ Who Became the Star of the 2019 Golden Globes

3 minute read

Kelleth Cuthbert is having a pretty good week. In just a couple of hours, the Los Angeles-based model became the Internet crowned Fiji water girl sensation for holding water bottles at the 76th Golden Globes. But if you’ve been on social media recently, you already know that.

Pictures of the “Fiji water girl” in the background of celebrity red carpet photos have been circulating at an impressive pace since Sunday’s broadcast. Though she was just doing her job as one of Fiji’s brand ambassadors at the event (responsible for keeping all the stars hydrated), she ended up in photos with Tony Shalhoub, Idris Elba, Dakota Fanning and even Heidi Klum lovingly kissing her fiancé, which Cuthbert tells TIME was one of her favorite photos of the night.

“I’ve worked with Fiji before, but this has never happened,” Cuthbert says.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Cuthbert has been working as a fashion model and commercial actress for twelve years, so she is certainly no stranger to Hollywood. “I think it’s fun to work the red carpet and look at the fashion, but I never get starstruck,” she says.

Cuthbert says her Instagram following was around 53,000 before Sunday’s event. At press time, she has 189,000 followers—more than 256 percent increase. Though she’s still working on trucking through all of the emails, messages and comments she’s gotten since the Globes, she’s already been featured on the Late Late Show with James Corden.

And she’s gotten her fair share of marriage proposals on Instagram.

But because Cuthbert herself has gone viral, Fiji inevitably has, too. This marketing ploy was more than successful: Marketing analytics firm Apex Marketing Group estimates that Fiji would have had to spend $12 million for the same amount of brand exposure. But this wasn’t the first time the brand has worked with models in a similar fashion. Cuthbert has worked with Fiji at other events, including the Emmys. This one, luckily for both the brand and for the model, just happened to have some incredible photo-ops.

Despite working in the industry for more than a decade, Cuthbert isn’t quite used to her newfound fame. “Just a couple days ago, I was walking my dog with no makeup and sweatpants on—maybe even had my pajamas on. Life has changed very dramatically,” she says. But as for what’s next, she’s excited. “I just have to sift through everything and figure out what offers are good, but I definitely would love to do more acting, more modeling, and just to be really busy—really productive.”

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Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at rachel.greenspan@time.com