Raised in Valencia, California, Naya Marie Rivera is probably best known to audiences for her role as Santana Lopez on Glee.
She is one-quarter German, one-quarter African-American and half Puerto Rican. When she was just a baby, a talent agent, the same agent that represented her mother, represented her.
Nayas career began as a child when she appeared in commercials. Her first role was at the age of four in The Royal Family, earning her a Young Artist Award nomination. Other roles followed in shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, The Bernie Mac Show, and CSI: Miami, among many others.
Naya told This Is How I Made It that her mixed race was always a big issue for mebecause casting directors tended to be very like, Ok, are you Hispanic for this role? Or is she going to be African-American? She added, So, it was really tough and work started to slow downI had people say that I just wasnt a good singer. They didnt know what to do with me. I would never fit in any markets. I almost quit acting altogether.
As she got older, and in order to pay the bills, Naya Rivera worked as a telemarketer, a nanny, and a greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch.
But it was Naya Riveras role on Glee that made her a star. She told afterellen.com, If you wouldve asked me, I would never say, Yeah, Im going to be a teenage lesbian icon! Thats amazing and its been beyond anything I could have dreamt of or imagined myself. I never thought about this.
Naya Rivera has made the Maxim Hot 100 list and FHMs 100 Sexiest Women List. She was also featured on the cover of Latina magazine. She has tattoos and said, I was obsessed with tattoos for awhile, but I now have no other places to hide them and I dont have any desire to get anymore so Im done.
In 2011, Naya Rivera signed a deal to produce a solo album.
Rivera supports a variety of charities, including GLAAD and The Sunshine Foundation.
Naya Rivera says she used to be a workout fiend and I was so unhappy because I wanted to eat what I wanted to eat. So now if I know I have to be in a bikini, Ill obviously watch what I eat for a week (seventeen.com).
Naya Rivera lives in Beverly Hills, California.