Naya Marie Rivera was born on January 12, 1987 in Valencia, California. She’s an American actress who is best known for her role as cheerleader Santana Lopez on the FOX’s hit series Glee. She’s also a singer and a model. Naya is of half Puerto Rican, quarter African, and quarter German descent.
As a baby, Naya appeared in commercials for Kmart. At the age of four she starred as Hillary Winston sitcom The Royal Family in 1991. She received a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance on the sitcom.
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 was hired to appear on one episode of The Bernie Mac Show and she was later hired to appear on a further five episodes. She also appeared in the music video for B2K’s Why I Love You.
She also appeared in single episodes of 8 Simple Rules and CSI: Miami.
In 2006 and 2007, Naya was part of U Don’t Know Me: The Musical in Los Angeles, the production was taken on national tour.
In 2009, Naya was cast as Santana Lopez, a cold-hearted cheerleader part of a cheerleading squad called The Cheerios on FOX’s musical comedy series Glee. She said about her character: “She’s really your typical high school cheerleader, for the most part. She’s really mean and loves boys. She’s really witty so I love playing her.”
In 2010, she was number 61 in the Maxim Hot 100 list and in 2011 she was ranked number 43. It was also announced in May 2011 that Naya has signed a record deal with Columbia Records to produce her first solo album.
She took up songwriting at the age of 15. Naya is best friends in real life with co-star Heather Morris.