Naya Marie Rivera

Naya Marie Rivera

American actress and singer
Date of Birth: 12.01.1987
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Naya Marie Rivera
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Role in 'Glee'
  4. Personal Life and Legacy

Biography of Naya Marie Rivera

Naya Marie Rivera was an American actress and singer, best known for her role as Santana Lopez in the musical comedy series 'Glee'. She was born on January 12, 1987, in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, and spent most of her life in the Los Angeles area.

Naya Marie Rivera

Early Life and Career

When she was eight or nine months old, Naya was introduced to the same talent agent her mother had approached when she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a modeling career. From a young age, Naya loved singing and started writing her own songs by the age of fifteen. She appeared in commercials for the 'Kmart' retail chain as a young child and landed her first major acting role as Hillary Winston in the sitcom 'The Royal Family' in 1991, produced by Eddie Murphy.

Naya Marie Rivera

Over the next ten years, Naya had small roles in various television series, including 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', 'Family Matters', 'Live Shot', 'Baywatch', 'Smart Guy', 'Even Stevens', and the film 'The Master of Disguise' in 2002. In 2002, she also appeared in the music video for the song 'Why I Love You' by the group 'B2K'.

Naya Marie Rivera

In 2004, Naya starred in the series '8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter' and in 2008, she appeared in an episode of the detective series 'CSI: Miami'. During breaks between roles and auditions, Naya worked as a nanny, a store greeter at 'Abercrombie & Fitch', and in telemarketing.

Role in 'Glee'

In 2009, Naya landed the role of Santana Lopez, one of the cheerleaders of the 'Cheerios' team, in the musical comedy series 'Glee'. The character initially appeared as a mean-spirited cheerleader but eventually revealed her vulnerabilities, especially in her relationship with her friend Brittany, played by Heather Morris.

Naya auditioned for the show because it required its actors to sing, dance, and act, and she was a fan of Ryan Murphy's previous work on the series 'Nip/Tuck'. To prepare for the role, Naya drew on her own experiences as an unpopular girl in high school and watched movies like 'Mean Girls' to capture the essence of a high school mean girl character.

The character of Santana Lopez became a fan favorite and evolved throughout the show, eventually revealing her hidden lesbian identity. Playing Santana was a challenging role for Naya, who described her as a sharp-tongued and complex character. She considered it even more challenging than the dance numbers and cheerleading routines she had to perform on the show.

Personal Life and Legacy

In addition to her acting career, Naya was passionate about music and signed a contract with Columbia Records in May 2011 to record her solo album. She ranked 61st in Maxim magazine's Hot 100 list in 2010 and climbed to 43rd place in 2011. She was also named the sexiest woman by the lesbian portal

Naya was of Puerto Rican, African-American, and German descent. Outside of her work, she loved books and dedicated a lot of time to charitable organizations. Her closest friend and 'Glee' co-star, Heather Morris, remained her best friend beyond the show.

In July 2020, tragically, Naya Marie Rivera passed away in a drowning accident while boating on Lake Piru in California. She leaves behind a legacy as a talented actress, singer, and advocate for various causes.