Naya Marie Rivera, born January 12, 1987, is a 32-year-old American actress, singer, model and author. She is known for her role as Santana Lopez on Glee.

Personal life

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Young Naya

Naya was born to George and Yolanda Rivera.[1] She was raised in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, attended Valencia High School, and has lived in or around Los Angeles for most of her life. Rivera has a brother, Mychal, and a sister, Nickayla. Mychal is football player, a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, and Nickayla is a model.

Rivera and Big Sean went public with their relationship at the premiere of 42 in April 2013.[2] They became engaged in October 2013, after less than a year of dating.[3] The engagement was announced to be called off after six months in April 2014, via a statement released by Big Sean.[4]

She married Ryan Dorsey on 19 July 2014 and it was reported on 23 July 2014; they began to date after Rivera's relationship with Big Sean ended.[5] Rivera announced that she and Dorsey were expecting their first child in February 2015.[6] The couple's child, son named Josey Hollis, was born on September 17, 2015.[7] In November 2016, Rivera would file for divorce and is seeking primary custody of Josey while Dorsey would get visitation rights.

Rivera revealed in her memoir that she had an abortion in 2010 of her and ex-boyfriend (then husband)'s child and that she had anorexia as a teenager. On October 9th, 2017 it was announced, that Naya has called off the divorce, but it is back on now. In June 2018, both Naya Riyera and Ryan Dorsey finalized their divorce. They both agree to share the custody their son Josey. 


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 Eddie Murphy produced sitcom The Royal Family in 1991. When The Royal Family ended after one season Naya continued acting, having small roles in many TV shows as well as appearing in commercials.

In 2009, Rivera was cast as Cheerios cheer-leading squad member Santana Lopez 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. 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 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, both her character and herself were on many "Best Of" lists, including's 25 Breakout Stars of 2011, TV Guide's Best Performances of 2011, MTV's Best TV Characters of 2011, Yahoo!'s Television Without Pity 2011 TV's Most Valuable Performers, as well as others.

Rivera is also a model and has appeared on many magazine covers. She was on the Cover of 2011 November issue of FHM magazine in US, UK and Australia. She is also cover girl of the Latina Magazine May 2012 and September 2013 Issue and Glow Summer 2013 Cover. She is currently the Spokesperson of Proactiv Solution and the popular beer, Bud Light. Rivera is currently working on an immigrant project with Guillermo Diaz, which will be a short film PSA about the affect 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.[8]

It was confirmed on the 4th February 2015 that she has signed on for a recurring role on Marc Cherry's "Devious Maids". Her character is; "Blanca, a new maid in the neighborhood who has landed a job with the seemingly picture-perfect Beverly Hills family. But she soon discovers a terrible secret–something that could change her life forever." Source

She is also set to co-host more episodes of The View. Source


Rivera was announced in June 2011 to have signed with Columbia Records.[9] Her first single "Sorry," featuring Big Sean, was released on August 9[10] and was released digitally on September 17, 2013.[11] She is going to record a Spanish version of "Sorry" featuring Pitbull, which was revealed in October 2013.[12] Rivera’s album was slated for an early 2014 release date,[13] however production on the album was kind of halted due to the fact there were so many things going on as of June 2014.[14]


Rivera announced in June 2015, that she wrote a memoir titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. Sorry Not Sorry was sold to Tarcher and was originally set for a spring 2016 release,[15] before being moved to September.[16] Rivera gave behind the scenes photos of her at her Sorry Not Sorry cover shoot in February 2016.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 The Master of Disguise Captain America Kid Deleted Scene
2009 Frankenhood Hottie Credited as Naya Maria Rivera (Maria was a typo)


Glee: The 3D Concert Movie Santana Lopez

3D Concert Film

2013 The Naughty List Sparkle Animated Christmas Movie
2014 At the Devil's Door Vera Moreno Film debut
2017 Mad Families Felipa TV movie


Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Royal Family Hillary Winston (1991 - 1992) Regular; 15 episodes
1992-1993 Family Matters Gwendolyn Recurring; Episodes: "Just One Date," "Heart Strings," "Mama's Wedding"
1993 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Cindy Season 3: Episode 16: "Bundle of Joy"
1993 The Sinbad Show Party Guest Season 1: Episode 10: "It's My Party, I'll Cry If I Want To"
1995 Live Shot Ann Season 1: Episode 2: "Another Day, Another Story"
1996 Baywatch Willa Season 7: Episode 5: "Scorcher"
1997, 1999 Smart Guy Kelly
Episodes "Baby, It's You and You and You" and "Never Too Young"
1999 The Jersey Girl #2 Season 1: Episode 3: "Be True to You"
2002 House Blend Chloe Pilot
Even Stevens Charlene Season 3: Episode 9: "Short Story"
Pajama Rama Herself 2002 - 2004; Host
The Bernie Mac Show Donna (2002 - 2006) Recurring role; 11 Episodes
2003 Soul Food Lauryn 2 Episodes: "Truth's Consequences" and "Nobody's Child"
2004 8 Simple Rules Nice Girl Season 3: Episode 6: "Halloween"
2008 Girlfriends Karin Season 8: Episode 13: "Stand and Deliver"
CSI: Miami Rachel Calvado Season 7: Episode 9: "Power Trip"
2009-2015 Glee Santana Lopez Season 1: Recurring cast member
Seasons 2 - 5: Regular cast member
Season 6: Guest Star
2010 When I Was 17 Herself Guest Star (Episode 28 with Carmelo Anthony and Taye Diggs)
2012 The Glee Project Herself Guest Star (Season 2, Episode 4 "Sexuality")
This Is How I Made It Herself Episode 3
2013 Fashion Police Herself Guest Star
Styled to Rock Herself Guest Star
2014 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Herself Season 6: Episode 26: "Secrets Revealed"
The View Herself Guest Host
2015 Devious Maids Blanca Alvarez Recurring role; 5 Episodes
2016 American Dad Lolo Fuentes Season 11: Episode 11: "The Unincludeds"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
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
53rd Annual Grammy Awards Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals 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
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 Favorite TV Actress—Leading Role in a Comedy Won
ALMA Awards Favorite Female Music Artist Won
2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Giffoni Film Festival Giffoni Award Won
Taste Awards Great Taste Prize: Hollywood Tastemaker Won
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Gal Pals Won
Teen Choice Awards Female Scene Stealer Nominated

Links and Social Networks


I loved what the fans having lovingly dubbed “The Hurt Locker” – when Santana confessed her love for Brittany. It was the first time, as an actor, I saw the fruits of my labor. I was so prepared for that scene and in my heart, I was happy with the work I did. And to be so proud of something you did is the best feeling, no matter the profession.

—Naya, on her favorite moment of Season 2.[18]

My heart is a Slushee full of love and I want to toss it all over you.

—Naya [19]

Getting hit on by both genders is such a champagne problem.

My voice is kind of like Aaliyah-esque, with a little bit more range. Normally, I sing pop, R&B-type stuff.[20]

We need a Starbucks on Campus. Love and always forever.

—Naya's senior year quote

My passion for music is one of my greatest loves. I don’t think I would be able to live without music in my life. I listen to absolutely everything and sing all the time. I love to write because it’s such a release. It’s very therapeutic when I sing and it makes me feel like I’m escaping for a while. I started singing when I was three. My favorite things to perform for my family was Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson’s leave me alone. I had a little kid piano that my dad would play notes on while I made up lyrics and sang along. I love how different songs can make you feel different things and take you to different memories in your life.[21]

It takes a lot to just accept yourself as you are and truly be happy with you. My advice to anyone who is struggling with this would be to give it time to try to notice all the great qualities you possess. There are always going to be things you don’t like about yourself or reasons to compare yourself to others, but once you realize that you only get one you, it’s best to just love yourself.

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.

—Naya on her dream role, Latina magazine

The secret to happiness is identifying what you're passionate about and being able to do it well everyday. Also surround yourself with great group of people you love. Laugh, Live and look forward to the future.

—Naya on happiness, Choosing Glee

We've all been hurt by words before, so before you speak, think about how your words might affect someone else.

Never give up and always know that the definition of success is when preparation meets opportunity.

When no one is looking I… Have a little conversation or pep talk with myself.

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.[22]

[There are] always going to be people saying that you can’t do it. Even when you think it’s done, if you are truly meant to be doing what you’re doing and you believe enough in your talent, giving it another shot can’t hurt, why not?.

I wasn’t allowed to hang out with the black kids [in high school] because they thought I wasn’t black enough, which was a problem.[23]

You learn something from everyone that you date. You learn what you want and don’t want.

—Naya on dating lessons, Latina magazine [24]

I like cooking everything. I get on food blogs and save recipes and go back and make them. I make fried chicken, I’m in charge of the macaroni and cheese on holidays. I can make lasagnas and pastas - I’m a good cook!

—Naya on her playlist, Latina magazine [24]

When you really love something, you make time for it.


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Naya's Latina Magazine Cover photo

  • Her vital statistic is 34-22-32.
  • Her nicknames are Bee, NayNay, Nay Nay Rivers, Na Nay, Little Bee, The Veiled Fairy and Snix.[25]
  • If she were not an actress, she would be a writer.
  • She doesn't like to throw things out.[25]
  • She had a crush on Robin Thicke.[26]
  • She likes sushi and Mexican food.[25]
  • She hates papercuts, and she always thinks of getting one on her eye when she thinks of them.[25]
  • She likes to wear her make-up natural.
  • She has been best friends with Heather Morris for years, who plays her wife on the show.
  • She does planks and side planks to keep her stomach toned.
  • There were rumors that she trashed Mark Salling's car (as he had been talking to other girls when they had a "thing"), but these rumors are not confirmed and Mark denied them on Twitter.
  • Rivera loves to read and is a fan of Nip/Tuck.
  • When she's tired, she doesn't talk, but mumbles.[25]
  • Her first concert was No Doubt.[25]
  • She's a very good impersonator.[25]
  • When she is bored she will drive somewhere, but always take the longest route.[25]
  • On Valentine's Day, she and her friends would sit in the car, listen to Dashboard Confessional and cry.[25]
  • She is left-handed.
  • She has tried to pay a taxi cab ride only in pennies.
  • She has six tattoos ("love" in Hebrew on her right wrist, a peace sign on her left ankle, a cross on her lower back, a shooting star on her right foot, and a ribbon on her nape and an unknown one mentioned in FHM).
  • She is a fan of the Hunger Games Trilogy and she wanted to play Johanna in the second installment of the Hunger Games films.[27][28]
  • She watches Pretty Little Liars and plays Pretty Little Liars fantasy games with friends where she is Emily.
  • She invented a dance that can be seen on YouTube called "The Naya Dance."
  • She is not fluent in Spanish, stated in a livestream, but she was apparently drunk and/or joking since Amber said, "No you don't, you're a liar." (She really was drunk during the livestream though).
  • She has had women propose to her due to her lesbian storyline.
  • She is a high contralto and has a 2.6 octave range. Her vocal range is C3-B5. [6]
  • For the July 2 show on the Glee tour in Ireland, Naya wore "Lebanese for Irish Girls" that was given to her by a fan, instead of "Lebanese."
  • She was seen smoking on a break from filming in New York. She was also seen smoking on her instagram posts from New Years Eve of 2018 with her sister. 
  • She is a huge Amy Winehouse fan and Valerie is her second favorite song ever.
  • She auditioned for Glee with the song Emotion by the Bee Gees.
  • She starred in the music video "Why I Love You" by B2K.
  • She played a prank on the cast by using her extra phone to send mystery texts to the cast and signing them with xoxo -A, like in Pretty Little Liars.
  • She was voted by the cast to be the most likely to join the cast of Jersey Shore.
  • She worked at Hooters.[29]
  • Her all-time favorite song is 'A Song For You' by Donny Hathaway.[30]
  • Her favorite childhood show was Boy Meets World or Doug.
  • Her favorite accessory is a nice watch.[31]
  • In May 2011, it was announced that Rivera had signed a deal with Columbia Records to produce a solo album, however she has since been dropped after the release of her debut single, Sorry.
  • Naya Rivera hosted the San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards in 2011 and the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards, along with co-star, Cory Monteith.
  • She took up songwriting at the age of 15.
  • When she was 17, she was a fan of Paris Hilton and watched "The Simple Life." She also bought the same dog as Paris.[26]
  • She has been to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch twice as a child. Source
  • Her nickname for Kevin McHale is Little Bee. [7]
  • Her favorite color is pink.
  • Her favorite band is Coldplay.
  • She prefers red wine to white wine.
  • She prefers pancakes over waffles, though she still love waffles especially with chicken.
  • Worked at Abercrombie as a greeter and was very flattered, knowing they only hire people based on looks.
  • Had a Maltese named Callie, but then gave it to her mom when she pooped in her car.
  • She took computer class in high school but hated it.
  • Was not popular in high school and was bullied.
  • She named her SAG award Alejandro.
  • Won the Cause You're Hot award at the 2012 NewNowNext Awards.
  • She has a girl crush on Coco. Source
  • She was filmed pole dancing when she was 20 years old.
  • BuddyTV ranked her #3 on its "TV's 100 Sexiest Women of 2011" list.
  • She was number 39 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World 2012. Source
  • In 2010, Rivera made the Maxim Hot 100 list, coming in at number 61. The following year, she was ranked number 43. She was ranked number 27 2012 and number 44 in 2013 in Maxim's Hot 100. Source
  • She finds beatboxing sexy.
  • She also made the Afterellen Hot 100 list in 2010, 2011, and 2012, premiering at 62 in 2010, jumping to 1 in 2011 and still at number 1 once again in 2012.
  • Naya was number 24 on Complex's 100 Hottest Women Right Now list in 2013.Source
  • Her favorite animal is the penguin.
  • She worked as a nanny while filming Season One of Glee, and stopped when episode 3 aired. Source
  • She has a Cavalier King Charles puppy named Lucy Ann Rivera.
  • She joined her high school choir but then left after two weeks because she thought it wasn't cool and didn't want to be yelled at.
  • Elton John signed her to his management company on 9/9/12. Source
  • Alongside Amber Riley, Naya auditioned for American Idol but didn't make the cut.
  • Naya, alongside Glee co-stars Amber Riley and Darren Criss, performed at the 2013 Obama's Inauguration kids concert in Washington DC.
  • Her favorite book is The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  • Her prom date told her she was too thin and didn't end up dancing with her at all. When the dance was over he wanted her to go to the hotel with her so they could have sex but she refused so her father picked her up.
  • If she could be any Power Ranger she would be the pink one.
  • The most random gift she has every received was a glass pig from her brother that he named Penelope.
  • Her name comes from the 1970s televison show Fantasy Island after her mother watched an episode where this watergodess emerged from the water and said "I am Naya".[32]
  • She was not allowed to celebrate Halloween as a child except for one time, which her mom dressed her up as Snow White. Source
  • One of her best friends is Kat Graham from The Vampire Diaries.
  • She and Erinn Westbrook share the same birthday.
  • One of her post-Glee activities was filming for Devious Maids, which June Squibb (Maggie Banks), Jennifer Aspen (Kendra Giardi) and Valerie Mahaffey (Rose Pillsbury) also guest star.



GLEE - 10 Things You Didn't Know About Naya Rivera

GLEE - 10 Things You Didn't Know About Naya Rivera

Glee - Naya does 'The Naya Dance' in Hawaii

Glee - Naya does 'The Naya Dance' in Hawaii

Behind the Scenes of Naya Rivera's Maxim photoshoot

Behind the Scenes of Naya Rivera's Maxim photoshoot

I Heart Glee - Naya Rivera Interview

I Heart Glee - Naya Rivera Interview

Naya Rivera - Sorry (Lyric Video) ft

Naya Rivera - Sorry (Lyric Video) ft. Big Sean

Extended ver. M&M's Love Ballad - Commercial ft

Extended ver. M&M's Love Ballad - Commercial ft. Naya Rivera

The Naughty List - Trailer

The Naughty List - Trailer

Naya Rivera Opens Up About Santana, Glee Casting & Heather Morris' Baby!

Naya Rivera Opens Up About Santana, Glee Casting & Heather Morris' Baby!

HD Naya Rivera Bud Light 50 50 1 Concert Interview

HD Naya Rivera Bud Light 50 50 1 Concert Interview


  1. Mychal Rivera Profile - UTSPORTS.COM
  2. New Couple Alert! Big Sean and Naya Rivera Make It Official at 42 Movie Premiere
  3. Naya Rivera and Big Sean Are Engaged—Check Out Her Ring!
  4. Naya Rivera and Big Sean Call Off Engagement
  5. Surprise! Naya Rivera Marries Ryan Dorsey
  6. Naya Rivera Is Pregnant! Baby on the Way for Glee Star and Husband Ryan Dorsey
  7. Naya Rivera's Baby Name Revealed: Son Is Josey Hollis Dorsey
  8. [1]
  9. 'Glee's' Naya Rivera To Release Solo Album
  10. Listen: Naya Rivera f/ Big Sean "Sorry"
  11. Naya Rivera Dishes On Recording 'Sorry' Single With Big Sean
  12. Naya Rivera to record Spanish version of Sorry
  13. Naya Rivera New Album 2014 - Release Date & Tracklist: Glee Star Shares Details of First Record with Rolling Stone November 2013.
  14. Naya Rivera Talks Album Delays & Going Topless with 'Galore' (Exclusive Pics!) June 2014.
  15. Book Deals: Week of June 8, 2015
  16. Behind the scenes of @NayaRivera's photoshoot for her cover of SORRY NOT SORRY, coming in Sep
  17. Morning! Exciting day! Shooting the cover for my book! #sorrynotsorry
  18. 'Glee' stars talk season three, the tour & graduation!
  19. Naya Rivera wows as the host of the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco
  20. [2]
  21. All About Naya Rivera
  22. [3]
  23. [4]
  24. 24.0 24.1 [5]
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 25.8 GLEE - 10 Things You Didn't Know About Naya Rivera
  26. 26.0 26.1 When I Was 17 Season 2 Episode 5
  27. April 20, 2011 Tweet 1
  28. April 20, 2011 Tweet 2
  29. 'Glee' Stars Before They Were Famous... They Did What?
  30. Naya Rivera Interview
  31. Response to Twitter question
  32. Naya Rivera on Jimmy Kimmel Live PART 1 0:57 - 1:24 mintues in. July 2013.
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