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Naya Rivera Biography

Naya Rivera


Date of Birth
12 December 1987, Valencia, California, USA

Birth Name
Naya Marie Rivera

Nay Nay
Nay Nay Rivers
The Veiled Fairy
Ni Ni

5' 5" (1.65 m)

8 December 2020, Ventura, California, USA, accidental drowning

  • Was of half Puerto Rican, one quarter African-American, and one quarter German descent.
  • Had 6 tattoos. They included a small bow on the back of her neck, the word "Love" written in Hebrew on the inside of her right wrist, a large cross on her lower back, a small peace sign on the inside of her left ankle, and a shooting star on the top of her right foot.
  • Was an avid reader and dedicated time to various charitable organizations.
  • Rivera's younger brother, Mychal Rivera, has started as tight end, #81, for the Tennessee Volunteers football team. And in 2013 he was the 184th pick in round 6 of the NFL Draft. He debuted in 2013 as a tight end, #81, for the Oakland Raiders.
  • In 2010, she ranked #61 on the Maxim Hot 100 list.
  • Her real-life best friends were Glee (2009) co-star, Heather Morris, who played her best friend in the show as well, and Glee (2009) co-executive producer, John Peter Kousakis (a.k.a. Telly Kousakis).
  • As a baby, Rivera appeared in commercials for Kmart, but her first significant acting job was at the age of four when she starred as Hillary Winston in the sitcom The Royal Family (1991).
  • Took up songwriting at the age of 15.
  • In 2002, she appeared in the music video for B2K's "Why I Love You".
  • Signed her autograph as a heart with her first name followed.
  • When she was 17, she worked as a greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch but quit to take a job selling memberships at Lake Elizabeth Golf & Ranch Club.
  • As a teenager, Rivera loved The Simple Life (2003) and wanted to be like Paris Hilton. She convinced her dad to let her get a little dog like Paris, who she named Kally.
  • Her first concert was going to see No Doubt.
  • Had a younger sister, Nickayla Rivera, who models.
  • In 2011, she ranked #43 on the Maxim Hot 100 list & ranked #1 on AfterEllen's Hot 100 list.
  • In 2011, she ranked #1 on AfterEllen's Hot 100 list.
  • In May 2011, Rivera signed a record contract with Columbia Records.
  • While joking around one day, she made up a celebratory dance that is now known as "The Naya Dance".
  • Unlike their characters on Glee (2009), Rivera and co-star Kevin McHale were very close friends. They gave each other "Bee" as a nickname.
  • In December 2011, Rivera became the new face of Proactiv Solution.
  • Was at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch twice. She was invited by Jackson's niece, who she met while auditioning when Rivera was younger.
  • In 2012, she ranked #27 on the Maxim Hot 100 list.
  • Auditioned for American Idol (2002), but didn't make the cut.
  • In September 2012, Rivera was signed to Elton John's management company.
  • In 2012, Rivera held her #1 rank on AfterEllen's Hot 100 list.
  • Released her first single, "Sorry" ft. Big Sean, on September 17, 2013.
  • Younger sister, Nickayla Rivera, called her "Little Sonic", because of her "off-the-charts energy" when she got excited.
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA: Recording for her first solo album under Columbia Records [January 2012]
  • Had a son: Josey Dorsey (b. September 17, 2015) with ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey.
  • Revealed in her autobiography "Sorry Not Sorry" that she had an abortion in 2010, after discovering that she was pregnant with the child of Ryan Dorsey who she had split from at that time. She and Dorsey later married in 2014, and started a family together.
  • Died by drowning on 8 July of 2020 after renting a pontoon boat on Lake Piru (Ventura County, California), with her four-year-old son Josey. The child, who had a life preserver on, reported she went for a short swim but never came back.
  • She was a lifelong liberal Democrat.
  • Confirmed in her memoir, "Sorry Not Sorry", that Smart Guy (1997) actor Tahj Mowry was her first boyfriend. The pair dated for four years between 2000 to 2004 when they were teenagers.
  • Was on the verge of quitting acting before she got her role in Glee.
  • Mother Yolanda was a former model.
  • In 2016 she wrote her memoir "Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes & Growing Up.".
  • Trademarks:
  • Naturally pouty lips
  • Defined cheekbones
  • The "Naya" dance
  • Quotes
  • My passion for music is one of my greatest loves.
  • My heart is a Slushee full of love and I want to toss it all over you.
  • Getting hit on by both genders is such a champagne problem.
  • [In reference to Glee (2009)]: And for those of you who don't watch the show, A. Kill yourself and B. As if... And what I think is most awesome about "Brittana" and shows like "Glee" is that the relationships that we portray aren't just about the ratings. I truly believe that Santana really does love Brittany.
  • [on how Glee (2009)'s Santana is a gay fan favorite] Well, I love my gay bars - I go all the time - and we'll literally be recognized more at gay bars than anywhere else. In fact, I don't get recognized anywhere except for gay bars. The gay boys will be like, "Oh, my God, I'm talking to Santana!" They only call me "Santana". It's awesome.
  • [on her dream role] I want to play Lena Horne because I've always been fascinated with her. Her talent was astounding and more than that, her life story is incredible.
  • [on paying her dues] I think it's important to be able to say that you did live a normal life and struggled to make ends meet. It all has to do with work ethic and how I apply myself to my awesome job now. I've always been used to working because I've been working since I was four.
  • I eat the same thing every day: brown rice pasta that's gluten free. I put arugula at the bottom of the bowl, make the pasta and while it's still hot I put it on top of the arugula so it sort of wilts it. Throw on some tuna, mix it up and it's a really good tuna salad.
  • [on being a lesbian sex symbol] Its kind of cool - and it makes me feel like a badass. I get more girls than my boyfriend [Big Sean]. They always tweet me about my booty.
  • [on working at Hooters and overcoming self-consciousness] I have nightmares about that job, period. When I was working there, I was really skinny - a lot skinnier than I am now. But I was always self-conscious. It's so funny now to feel completely different... You can't be so hard on yourself that you're not enjoying everyday. It just got to be too much, so I shelved it. I just started eating right and working out and putting my energy into that.
  • [on her ideal guy] He's really good looking. He's talented. He's nice. I don't know. I like people that are kind. And people who like me.
  • [on her beauty obsessions] I love getting waxed, or getting tanned, getting my hair done, or laser hair removal - I'm obsessed with anything like that.
  • [on getting married] No matter what [anyone] says to you, every girl wants to get married. Of course I want to get married! I think that it'd be the party of the century.
  • [on marriage equality] I think that everyone should have the right to be with whoever they love. I mean, love is so rare and - God, first of all, marriage is so hard. I think that people should be able to be with whoever they love. Life is too short. I just don't think it's anyone else's business.

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