Naya Marie Rivera (born January 12, 1987) is an American actress, singer, and model. Depending on your age, tastes and locations, she can be best known for her work as a child star, her roles on Glee or Devious Maids, or her relationship with Big Sean. Or the M&M's commercials. She is also a song- and screen-writer. Rivera has also been known professionally as Naya Marie.
Born in California in 1987, she was signed to the talent agency that represented her mother at a young age. Being half-black and predominantly displaying these characteristics in childhood, she consistently took lead and recurring black roles in the nineties and the aughts. In the late aughts, Rivera's lead roles diminished and she instead took up work as a nanny, a Hooters girl and a greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch, before returning to acting by auditioning for Glee and more subsequent Latina roles after being cast as Santana Lopez, utilising her Latina half. Though initially in the background, her character was well liked and then promoted after the first season, despite well-publicised professional disagreements during the making of the show. Rivera also featured in the news for her documented relationship with rapper Big Sean, and their sudden break-up that led to her marriage to old friend Ryan Dorsey in 2014 (and Sean's equally polemic relationship with Ariana Grande). During this time, she also released her debut single ("Sorry") with Columbia Records. She has a son (Josey Hollis) with Dorsey, and has published an autobiography.
She has two younger siblings, her brother Mychal Rivera an Oakland Raiders tight end and sister the model Nickayla Rivera. She was first nominated for her acting in 1991, and has since won a Screen Actors Guild Award (2010); a Gay People's Choice Award (2010) and a People's Choice Award (2014); the Giffoni Award (2013); and three ALMA Awards — two for music, one for acting (2011 & 2012).
- The Royal Family, Hillary Winston (1991-92)
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Cindy (1993)
- Family Matters, Gwendolyn (1992-93)
- The Sinbad Show, party extra (1993)
- Live Shot, Ann (1995)
- Baywatch, Willa (1996)
- Smart Guy, Kelly/Tanya (1997-1999)
- The Jersey, background (1999)
- House Blend, Chloe (TV Movie, 2002)
- Even Stevens, Charlene (2002)
- The Master of Disguise, Captain America kid (2002)
- B2K music videos "Why I Love You", "1:47" (2002)
- Music video for "Supermassive Black Hole" with 2Cellos (2002)
- Soul Food, Lauryn (2003)
- 8 Simple Rules, Nice Girl (2004)
- The Bernie Mac Show, Donna (2002-2006)
- Girlfriends, Karin (2008)
- CSI: Miami, Rachel Calvado (2008)
- Frankenhood, "Hottie" (2009)
- Nuthin' But A Glee Thang (2011)
- Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, Santana Lopez (2011)
- The Naughty List, Sparkle (2013)
- At The Devil's Door, Vera (2014)
- Glee, Santana Lopez (2009-15)
- Devious Maids, Blanca Alvarez (2015)
- U Don't Know Me as Keila in Los Angeles (2006)
- U Don't Know Me National Tour as Keila (2006-07)
Tropes associated with Naya Rivera:
- Award Snub: Though she has her helping of awards, was never nominated as an actress on any major platform for her work on Glee.
- Bi the Way: Responded to the statement that bisexual women are more susceptible to mental illness than lesbians with "no wonder I'm so crazy, this solves it all".
- Fan Nickname: "Nay-Nay" and "Snixx" are nicknames of her own that fans have taken to referring to her as.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Is very close with Kevin McHale (her "little bee") and Heather Morris from Glee, but only in a friendly way.
- Reaction Shot: Possibly something that got her promoted from the background on Glee, the use of her reactions as gifs in replacement for a response on the Internet is phenomenal. No list or forum would be complete without them.
- Romance on the Set: Had a short-lived fling with Glee co-star Mark Salling, as well as a longer relationship with the series' co-writer Matthew Hodgson.
- Typecasting: As the cute black girl when young. Since, she has played several different kind of Hispanic.