Watch out, world: Glee star Naya Rivera is coming to conquer you.
You may be wondering who she is, especially if you are not a fan of the hit Fox dramedy, but no truer statement can be made about this superstar in the making.
For many people, Rivera’s claim to fame to date has been Glee. After all, that’s what most search engines will tell you: “Naya Rivera is best known for portrayal of Santana Lopez on the musical dramedy series Glee,” or something to that effect.
The fact of the matter is that there is so much more to Naya Rivera than meets the eye, and it has been proven through her success both on the show and off the set.
When Glee made its debut back in 2009, Rivera was cast as an unnamed cheerleader. This unnamed cheerleader would later become a part of the infamous Unholy Trinity of Cheerios alongside with Queen Bee Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) and Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris).
Rivera’s character was then given a name, Santana. Before you knew it, the diva with the sassy, snark filled mouth and an intense hatred of leading lady Lea Michele’s character Rachel Berry, was embraced by fans and declared a fan favorite.
Not only were Santana’s one liners of contempt towards Rachel quickly becoming one of the best things in the series, as Rivera’s comedic prowess knows no end, but fans were in for quite the treat when the show put on displayed yet another talent that Rivera had in her repertoire: her singing ability.
We were first given a tease of Rivera’s set of pipes in the episode “The Power of Madonna”, when Santana sang in the performances of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and “Express Yourself”.
Soon after, Rivera’s Santana was being heard more and more singing wise as the show began to develop her character with each episode, continuously adding layers to Santana’s personal development. Rivera’s vocals took center stage when she sang her first duet with Amber Riley’s character Mercedes Jones when they belted out Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine”.
By the end of the first season, Rivera’s Santana had carved herself a place on the show and in fans’ hearts with her talents in both comedy and singing.
Season two of Glee brought about the biggest change in Rivera’s career and earned a spot as a role model for many fans of the show. Season two introduced the world to “Brittana”, the portmanteau given to the couple made up of Rivera’s Santana and Morris’ Brittany.
There had been rumblings of the two characters being involved throughout the season, with the official confirmation coming full circle in the episode “Sexy”. When Santana, through the song “Landslide”, gave into her feelings towards Brittany and broke down in tears, with Brittany reciprocating those feelings.
The character officially came out in the third season in “I Kissed A Girl”. This culminated in the couple officially getting together soon after and heartbreakingly calling it quits in season for. The Britanna breakup was horribly disappointing to the couple’s many fans.
The Brittana story line led to Rivera becoming a prominent part of the LGBTQ community. Both the couple and Rivera’s portrayal of Santana’s struggle to accept herself won a place in the community and the fans’ hearts.
Rivera’s involvement with the community was not just limited to her onscreen performance: Rivera took her star power and became one of the biggest supporters of the LGBTQ community. She hosted the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards relaying to the Huffington Post, “‘We need more’ gay characters on television.”
She also appeared in a public service announcement for GLAAD and has also been linked to The Trevor Project; a suicide prevention initiative for LGBTQ youth, which has other A-Listers such as Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and fellow Glee co-star Darren Criss. Rivera continues to be a force to reckon with on the show these days as Santana has been frequently featured as a soloist in several performances (a key highlight being her cover of the Amy Winehouse hit “Valerie”).
She has been given front-burner storylines in each season of Glee. Many of her performances have charted high on the iTunes charts, making the rest of Hollywood take notice and laud her with endorsement deals from ProActiv among others.
A true indication that Rivera has arrived and that Hollywood has accepted her came no sooner than in this year’s SuperBowl commercials. The commercials are what many consider to be a highlight of the sporting event. Rivera was featured as the star of the M&Ms commercial.Since the event, continues to be a favorite of many with its humor and is still in heavy rotation.
Besides landing endorsement deals, Rivera has graced the covers of several popular magazines such as Maxi, Latina Magazine, Cosmo for Latinas, and People en Español. She was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in Entertainment by People en Español.
If you are wondering about Rivera’s powerhouse vocals that have been in heavy rotation on Glee, Rivera has taken steps to show off those golden pipes outside of the show. She has caught the eye of musical royalty and veteran singer Sir Elton John. John was so impressed with her that he has signed her to a management deal with his company!
She was also recently signed to Columbia Records and has been featured on the 2Cello’s cover of the Muse hit “Supermassive Black Hole”. She had teamed up with the 2Cellos before in the Michael Jackson tribute episode with castmate Grant Gustin in the cover of “Smooth Criminal”.
Rivera’s first single is reportedly entitled “My Heart”, and according to sources, is expected to release her debut album sometime this year. According to WetPaint, fans are in for treat as “Naya’s sound is to be urban and jazzy”, or in her own words “like Amy Winehouse’s jazz influences, a hip-hop Adele, a little Beyonce.”
Looks like Rivera is off to make herself stand out with that eclectic sound she’s going with!
So there you have it, world. You have been warned. Naya Rivera is well on her way to superstardom both onscreen and off screen. With magazine spreads, endorsement deals, a hit TV show and a music career in the making, Rivera, with her take no prisoners attitude when it comes to her career, still remains grounded and humble about her fame.
No doubt to anyone around, this girl is on fire, and is set to take the world by storm!