In 2009, Naya Rivera was cast as a cold-hearted cheerleader with an incredible set of pipes and the rest, as they say, is history.
Starring in “Glee” as the sassy Santana Lopez has brought Rivera’s career to a whole new level and, with it, her personal life has evolved as well. While viewers may feel they know Rivera by watching her play the part of the former Cheerio now New York City wannabe, there’s a lot more to this woman than playing the part of a lesbian sexpot on Fox’s hit show turned cultural phenomenon.
Here are 10 things you may not know about Naya Rivera of “Glee”.
Personal details on “Glee’s” Naya Rivera
- Naya Rivera’s first big acting gig was halted due to tragedy. When Rivera was four-years-old, she starred in the sitcom “The Royal Family,” produced by Eddie Murphy. Despite positive reviews and feedback, the show never recovered after actor Redd Foxx suffered a heart attack on set, reportedly during rehearsals. Rivera went on to receive a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance, but the show quickly ended.
- Naya Rivera’s first music video appearance was in B2K’s “Why I Love You” produced in 2002. Since then she’s been featured in others including 2Cellos’ cover of Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” featuring Rivera herself.
- Thanks to “Glee,” Rivera has had the opportunity to perform alongside two of her Latin idols, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan (who plays her mother on the show).
- If Naya Rivera didn’t have a career as an actor and singer, she says she’d be a writer. She has completed several television scripts and screenplays but, reportedly, isn’t pursuing a separate career as of yet.
- Naya Rivera is currently in a romantic relationship with rapper Big Sean. They revealed their romantic involvement on the red carpet at a premiere a la Jennifer Lopez whom she admires, “I would love to be where she is one day.”
- When not in production or recording music, Rivera is involved with numerous charities including: GLAAD, Stand Up to Cancer, The Sunshine Foundation, The Trevor Project and The Elephant Project.
- She’s a proud Latina. At the GLAAD Awards, Rivera stated, “We are feisty and fiery and as much as people consider that a stereotype, I find it a compliment.”
- Naya Rivera’s brother is on television too, though not singing and dancing! Mychal Rivera is an American Football player and is presently a tight end for the Oakland Raiders.
- Naya Rivera’s heritage is mixed. Born in Valencia, Santa Clarita, Calif., Rivera is half Puerto Rican, a quarter African American and a quarter German!
- Naya Rivera was destined for this. At just nine-months-old, her mother Yolanda signed her up to be represented by the same agent that had worked to create a career for her. Talent seems to run in the family as her sister is presently a professional model.
A bonus number 11, on what you don’t know about Naya Rivera, is that she posed nude in the Allure special “Look Better Naked,” which hit newsstands April 22. She was among several celebrities to pose nude, although her privates were covered in good taste.
Naya Rivera’s portrayal of Santana Lopez is what has skyrocketed her to fame, making her a household name and putting her high up on the lists of up-and-comers, as well as sexiest celebrities. Her net worth, according to Celebrity Networth, is $1.4 million.
It seems her real-life persona is a little softer than that of her TV alter-ego. Perhaps the most not surprising personal detail is that Rivera, though quiet about her faith, is a church-going, bible-reading Christian, taking her faith very seriously and considering it, unlike many other things in her larger than life existence, very personal.