Published Aug 25, 2010When we first heard that model Kirsten Kennis was suing Vampire Weekend for $2 million for the unauthorized use of her photo on Contra's album cover, we had some unanswered questions: what are the true origins of the enigmatic photo and how the hell does Kennis think she can win $2 million? Now, in a new interview with Vanity Fair, the former model has spoken out about the lawsuit.
The band purchased the shot from New York photographer Tod Brody, who reportedly took the picture during a casting session. According to Kennis - who now goes by her birth name, Ann - the photo wasn't actually taken by Brody.
"It's not even like it's a Polaroid before a photo shoot, because the hair's not done, the makeup's not done, the lighting's not done. Nothing. It almost looks like somebody caught me by surprise," she said. She went on to speculate that the photo had been taken by her mother at home.
This is similar to the story that came from Kennis's lawyer a few months ago. While Brody has said that the claims that he didn't take the photo were false, this is hardly the first time he's been accused of fraudulent activities. A website called the Tod Brody Fraud Blog calls him a "con-man" while a YouTube clip from the Danish TV show Den 11 Time makes similar accusations.
Brody responded to these detractors: "It's really easy to say things about people on the Internet. Really easy. Well, tell someone to prove one of those things. Tell someone to prove one of them." Adding validity to Brody's story is the fact that the original Polaroid is covered in push-pin holes, from where it was tacked up on his studio wall.
Kennis's lawsuit reportedly rests on the validity of a single document: one between Vampire Weekend Inc. and "Kirsten Johnsen," signing away the rights to the photo for $1. Of course, this is suspicious, since Ann Kennis no longer uses the name Kirsten, and the last name is seemingly arbitrary.
The Vanity Fair article contains numerous details about Kennis's life today. The 52-year-old Connecticut native was initially flattered by the use of her photo, but called foul once she realized how prominent it was. She is currently in the process of launching a line of space-themed teddy bears called the Cosmic Cubs Club. The $2 million sure would buy a lot of teddy bears.
You can see some selections from her old modelling portfolio over at Vanity Fair.