A faintly smiling young woman wearing a yellow Ralph Lauren shirt became instantly famous earlier this year when a vintage photo of her appeared on the front cover of Vampire Weekend’s chart-topping Contra album. Now someone has come forward as the heretofore anonymous model – and she’s hitting the indie rockers with a multi-million dollar lawsuit, claiming they used the image without her permission.
In papers filed yesterday in an L.A. court, Ann Kirsten Kennis says that the photo was taken around 1983, when she was working as “a high-fashion model under contract with prestigious agencies in New York City.” (Hat tip to TMZ for first reporting the suit today.) The lawsuit claims that the signature on the release form for the photo was forged. Kennis is asking the band, label XL Recordings, and photographer Tod Brody for at least $2 million for this alleged misappropriation of identity, arguing that “the album design, in which the Photograph is featured prominently, was a substantial factor in generating recognition and buzz for the Contra album, thus increasing sales and profits.”
A rep for the band tells EW they have no comment at this time. A phone call to Kennis’ attorney was not immediately returned. We’ll update you if and when we hear anything more. ‘Til then, what do you think of this story?
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