Rivera at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010
|Born||Naya Marie Rivera
January 12, 1987
Valencia, California, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Naya Rivera Dorsey|
|Occupation||Actress, singer-songwriter, model, director|
|Spouse(s)||Ryan Dorsey (m. 2014)|
|Relatives||Mychal Rivera (brother)|
|Associated acts||Jaden Michaels, 2Cellos|
Naya Rivera Dorsey (born Naya Marie Rivera; January 12, 1987) is an American actress and singer, known for playing Santana Lopez on Fox Broadcasting's musical comedy-drama television series Glee. Her first solo single "Sorry", featuring American rapper Big Sean, was released on September 17, 2013.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Media appearances
- 4 Public image
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Discography
- 8 Music videos
- 9 Stage work
- 10 Awards and nominations
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Naya Marie Rivera was born and raised in Valencia, California, and has lived in or around Los Angeles for most of her life. She is of Puerto Rican, African American, and German descent. Her parents are Yolanda, a former model, and George Rivera. Her brother is NFL tight end Mychal Rivera, and her younger sister is runway model Nickayla Rivera. At 8 or 9 months old, Rivera began to be represented by the same talent agent as her mother, who had moved to Los Angeles to pursue modeling.
1991–2008: Career beginnings
Rivera appeared in commercials for Kmart as a baby, but her first significant acting job was at age 4 when she appeared as Hillary Winston in The Royal Family sitcom in 1991. The show received positive reviews and high ratings initially, but it was cancelled soon after star Redd Foxx suffered a sudden heart attack on set. Rivera received a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance in the series. Between 1992 and 2002, she had small roles in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Live Shot, Baywatch, Smart Guy, The Jersey, House Blend, Even Stevens and The Master of Disguise. In 2002 she also appeared in the music video for B2K's "Why I Love You". She was hired for a single episode guest appearance on The Bernie Mac Show in 2002, but she was brought back to work on a further ten episodes throughout all five seasons. She was later featured in episodes of 8 Simple Rules and CSI: Miami. In between auditions and roles, Rivera worked jobs as a telemarketer, a nanny and a greeter at an Abercrombie & Fitch store. In 2006 and 2007, Rivera took part in a production of Mark E. Swinton's play, U Don't Know Me: The Musical, both in Los Angeles and when the production was taken on national tour.
2009–2011: Breakthrough and acclaim with Glee
In 2009, Rivera was cast as Santana Lopez, a high school cheerleader, on Fox's musical comedy series, Glee, about a high school glee club. Rivera's character comes off as a cold-hearted and vicious cheerleader, who often shows her softer side to fellow cheerleader Brittany (played by Heather Morris). Rivera auditioned for the opportunity "to sing, dance and act all in the same show," and because she was a fan of co-creator Ryan Murphy's previous work on Nip/Tuck. Rivera drew on her own high school experience of unpopularity to prepare for the role, as well as watching films such as Mean Girls to "really get in the zone and feel like a bitchy sophomore." She has described Santana as "your typical high school cheerleader, for the most part," explaining: "She's really mean and loves boys. She's really witty so I love playing her." She has characterized Santana as "a bit of a bad girl" who is "really snarky and always has these really witty one-liners she throws out there." Rivera enjoys the fact Santana is competitive and headstrong as she herself shares those traits, but dislikes Santana's mean streak. She finds the show's pacing challenging, especially the dancing, and commented in June 2009 that her most memorable moment on Glee was performing the Cheerios' glee club audition piece, "I Say a Little Prayer". Santana played a more prominent part in the last nine episodes of Glee 's first season. Rivera commented: "Santana's been wreaking havoc with people's boyfriends and people's babies and teachers – she's the high school terror, and she's going to continue to be the villain."
After having her screen time and musical involvement increased in the second half of the first season, Rivera was promoted to official series regular status as of the beginning of the second season. She was given her first solo in the fifth episode of season two, "The Rocky Horror Glee Show", and performed several others as the season progressed. During the second season, Rivera's role in the show was radically changed when it was revealed that her character was a lesbian. Rivera portrayed Santana struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, with her love for her best friend, and with her inability to come out of the closet. She received favorable reviews for her performance. In January 2011, Rivera appeared in a parody of "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang", called "Nuthin' But a Glee Thang", co-written by Glee co-star Heather Morris.
In July 2011, Rivera was nominated for two ALMA awards, in the categories of "Favorite Female Music Artist" and "Favorite TV Actress—Leading Role in a Comedy". Rivera received a great amount of critical praise for both her acting and her singing performances in the latter part of season two and the beginning of season three. As 2011 ended, she or her character were on many "Best Of" lists, including HitFix's 25 Breakout Stars of 2011, TV Guide's Best Performances of 2011, MTV's Best TV Characters of 2011, as well as others. In the second half of the series' third season, she was given the opportunity to do a duet with Ricky Martin, and worked with Gloria Estefan, who was cast as Santana's mother. As the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards approached, Rivera was listed by many critics and media outlets as deserving of a nomination; The Hollywood Reporter included her in their "Emmy 2012: Supporting Players" photo shoot, and Rivera was also honored by E!, Hitfix, TV Guide, and others. She was also chosen by the TV Academy to take part in a promotional video for the upcoming awards ceremony. Regarding her awards season buzz, Rivera commented to The Hollywood Reporter: "For people to even think that I'd be considered or a good candidate for a Supporting Actress nomination is mind-blowing to me."
2011–2014: Musical solo debut
In May 2011, it was announced that Rivera had signed a deal with Columbia Records to produce a solo album. The musical duo 2Cellos released the second single to their second album, a cover of Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" featuring vocals by Rivera. She also starred in the music video for the song. Rivera's debut single "Sorry", featuring rapper Big Sean, was released as a digital download on September 17, 2013. However, production on the album has "kind of halted" due to "so many things going on, Politics got involved so I've been putting it on the back burner; there are a lot of things that I'm doing that I'm excited about." Rivera has stated.
On May 1, 2014 it was reported that Columbia had dropped Rivera because her debut single had underperformed. Rivera's representative released a statement to news outlets stating that any claims were falsified, and that legal action would be potentially taken to ensure Rivera's creditability; at the time of publishing, Columbia Records could not be reached for comment.
2014–present: Directing Debut & Feature Film Debut
Rivera was working on an immigrant project with Guillermo Diaz, which was a short film PSA about the effect of immigration on children and their parents. While Diaz's part is about telling the stories of young dreamers and the fear they have of their mothers being deported, Rivera's PSA is about the problems immigrants deal with or face in the US.
Titled simply "Home," Rivera's debut feature film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas on March 9, 2014. The film has been described by its director, Nicholas McCarthy as "a unique kind of genre film I think, almost like a Rubik's cube of a horror movie." The film was bought by IFC Midnight after SXSW, re-titled "At the Devil's Door," and a VOD release date of August 8 and a theatrical release date of September 12 were announced. The film continued to play at festivals and be seen by critics, receiving positive to mixed reviews. Rivera's acting, however, received almost universal praise. Edgar Chaput, of Sound on Sight, categorizes all the acting in the film as strong, but called Rivera "the standout... the most natural performance in the film," while Marsha McCreadie, of Film Journal, wrote "At the Devil’s Door doesn’t pick up steam until late in the story, when Rivera carries the narrative," and Jeremy Kibler, of Diabolique Magazine, wrote "Coming primarily from a TV background and fun to watch as sharp-tongued lesbian cheerleader Santana on Glee, the eye-grabbing Naya Rivera adjusts to the big screen with ease in front of the camera. Her Vera is headstrong and rigid but cut with just the right amount of vulnerability."
In 2011, Rivera hosted the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards. In November 2011, Rivera and Amber Riley performed at the 10th Annual Celebration of Dreams Event for the Dream Foundation. In December 2011, Rivera was revealed as the newest celebrity spokesperson for ProActiv. On March 24, 2012, she co-hosted the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York with co-star Cory Monteith. Along with John Stamos, both hosts auctioned off kisses to the crowd, raising $15,000. This tradition started with Rivera when she hosted the 22nd Annual Media Awards in San Francisco. In October 2012, Rivera was featured in the third episode of MTV's new show, This Is How I Made It. In the episode, Rivera recounted her childhood career as an actress and a model, as well as the lean times that came between the age of 16 and 21, leading up to her big break of being cast on Glee. In December 2012, Rivera attended the annual Trevor Live event, where she performed her take on the song "Silent Night." Rivera has starred in a recent M&M's commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013, as the girl that "Red" is referring to (and who is essentially trying to eat him) with a cover of Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That).
In April 2012, Rivera was featured on the cover of Latina magazine. The following month she was also featured in the inaugural issue of Cosmo for Latinas, and was selected by People en Español for their 50 Most Beautiful list. In May 2012, Rivera made FHM's 100 Sexiest Women List, coming in at number 39. She made the Maxim Hot 100 list for the third year in a row, moving up sixteen spots to number 27. On the 2012 AfterEllen 'Hot 100 list' she was again ranked #1. She posed nude for the May 2013 issue of Allure magazine. Rivera was ranked #37 in the "Men's Health Hottest Women of 2014".
Rivera briefly dated Glee co-star Mark Salling in 2010. After their breakup she was accused of egging and keying his car due to his alleged infidelity; she denied these allegations. Rivera began dating recording artist Big Sean in April 2013. They announced their engagement that October but ended it in April 2014. Soon after, Rivera began dating actor Ryan Dorsey, her good friend of four years. They were married in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on July 19, 2014, the same date she and Big Sean would have married. On February 24, 2015 Rivera announced via Twitter that she and Dorsey are expecting their first child.
Rivera took up songwriting at the age of 15, declaring in one interview, "...my passion for music is one of my greatest loves." In 2008, Rivera completed an 8-week screenwriting workshop at the New York Film Academy. She has stated that if she could not act or sing, she would work as a writer.
Concerning her religious views, Rivera noted in an interview with Latina magazine that she was raised a devout Christian but is very private about it, noting the conflict that can result from revealing such information. "It's hard and sort of sad that you do feel the need to tread lightly when you say, 'Yes, I do go to church and I do read the Bible,' because once you do that, people will be like, 'Why are her boobs out? Why is her midriff showing? Why is she playing a lesbian?' I don't want to deal with that stuff, so I've never really discussed it. It's very personal."
During Rivera's appearance as a guest host on The View on January 14, 2015, Rosie O'Donnell remarked on a recent study that showed that bisexual women were more likely to have mental health problems than lesbians, to which Rivera replied, "Rosie, no wonder I'm crazy. This just solves it all."
|2002||The Master of Disguise||Captain America Kid||Deleted scene|
|2009||Frankenhood||Hottie||Credited erroneously as Naya Maria Rivera|
|2011||Glee: The 3D Concert Movie||Santana Lopez||3D concert film|
|2013||The Naughty List||Sparkle||Animated film|
|2014||At the Devil's Door||Vera||Film debut|
|1991–92||The Royal Family||Hillary Winston||Regular|
|1992–93||Family Matters||Gwendolyn||Episodes: "Just One Date", "Heart Strings" and "Mama's Wedding"|
|1993||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Cindy||Episode: "Bundle of Joy"|
|1993||The Sinbad Show||Party Guest||Episode: "It's My Party, I'll Cry If I Want To"|
|1995||Live Shot||Ann||Episode: "Another Day, Another Story"|
|Episodes: "Baby, It's You and You and You" and "Never Too Young"|
|1999||The Jersey||Girl #2||Episode: "Be True to You"|
|2002||Even Stevens||Charlene||Episode: "Short Story"|
|2002–06||The Bernie Mac Show||Donna||Recurring (seasons 2–5): 11 episodes|
|2003||Soul Food||Lauryn||Episodes: "Truth's Consequences" and "Nobody's Child"|
|2004||8 Simple Rules||Nice Girl||Episode: "Halloween"|
|2008||Girlfriends||Young Lady||Episode: "Stand and Deliver"|
|2008||CSI: Miami||Rachel Calvado||Episode: "Power Trip"|
|2009–15||Glee||Santana Lopez||Season 1 and 6: Recurring
Season 2–5: Regular
|2010||When I Was 17||Herself||Episode 28, with Carmelo Anthony and Taye Diggs|
|2012||The Glee Project||Herself||Season 2, Episode 4: "Sexuality"|
|2012||This Is How I Made It||Herself||Episode 3, with Chris Brown|
|2013||Fashion Police||Herself||Guest star|
|2013||Styled to Rock||Herself||Guest star|
|2014||The Real Housewives of Atlanta||Herself||Season 6, Episode 26: "Secrets Revealed"|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Sales||Album|
|2013||"Sorry" (feat. Big Sean)||—||34||73||81||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|2002||B2K||"Why I Love You" "1:47" |
|2012||2Cellos||"Supermassive Black Hole"|
|2006–07||U Don't Know Me||Keila|
Awards and nominations
|1992||Young Artist Awards||Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Ten||Nominated|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|TV Land Awards||Future Classics (with: Glee Cast)||Won|
|Imagen Awards||Best Supporting Actress—Television||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Music: Group||Nominated|
|Lesbian/Bi People's Choice Awards||Favorite Music Duo or Group (with: Glee Cast)||Nominated|
|Gay People's Choice Awards||Favorite Music Duo or Group (with: Glee Cast)||Won|
|2011||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Grammy Award||Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (Don't Stop Believin)||Nominated|
|Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (Glee: The Music, Volume 1)||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Music: Group (with: Glee Cast)||Nominated|
|ALMA Awards||Favorite TV Actress—Leading Role in a Comedy||Nominated|
|ALMA Awards||Favorite Female Music Artist||Won|
|2012||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media (with: Glee Cast) Glee: The Music, Volume 4||Nominated|
|My TV Awards||Ridiculously Good-Looking Female||Won|
|My TV Awards||Supporting Actress in a Comedy||Won|
|NewNowNext Awards||Cause You're Hot||Won|
|ALMA Awards||Best Female Music Artist||Won|
|ALMA Awards||Favorite TV Actress – Comedy||Won|
|2013||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Giffoni Film Festival||Giffoni Award||Won|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Gal Pals (with Lea Michele)||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Female Scene Stealer||Nominated|
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- "Nuthin' But A Glee Thang with Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison & Sofia Vergara from Heather Morris, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Morrison, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Harry Shum Jr, Riki Lindhome, Ashley Lendzion, David Bernad, Isaac Hagy, BoTown Sound, Shauna O'Toole, Funny Or Die, Keith Schofield, Brian Mulchy, and Christin Trogan". Funnyordie.com. March 22, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez Top ALMA Nominees". ABC News. July 28, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "The 25 Breakout Stars of 2011". hitfix.com. November 24, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
- "Best of the Year—Best Performances". TV Guide. December 13, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
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- "Unlikely romance: Naya Rivera is wooed by a red piece of candy in laugh-out-loud Super Bowl commercial for M&M's". London: DailyMail. February 3, 2013.
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- "Naya Rivera Talks Spanx, Hooters Uniforms, and Her Locker-Room Attitude on the Set of Her Allure Nudes Shoot". Allure. April 2, 2012. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
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- "Bun in the Oven". Naya Rivera. February 24, 2015.
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- "SU2C: Change The Odds PSA (09.10.10)". YouTube. August 3, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
- "Here is Naya Rivera from "Glee" posing with the elephant beanie baby to help fight Alzheimer's disease!". Tumblr. May 21, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
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- Latina April 2012, republished at Rivera's official website
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- The Master of Disguise (2002) Full Cast & Crew. IMDb
- Frankenhood (2009) Full Cast & Crew. IMDb
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- B2K. "Supermassive Black Hole". YouTube. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
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