Mostly famed for her role as the lady-loving, smoking hot cheerleader, Santana Lopez, on the critically acclaimed, Glee, Naya Rivera is also talented for a number of other reasons. That’s right, mostly dabbling in acting, Rivera is also a fully fledged pop star, signing with Columbia Records in 2011. With acting and singing clearly not enough for the Californian princess, Rivera turned her hand to writing, releasing her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up in 2016. Revealing some serious home truths, not to mention some serious slating of former co-stars, Rivera was a hot topic with regards to her personal life, as well as alluding to her possible bisexuality, mirroring that of her most famous character on screen. Recently declaring that she was a devout Christian, Rivera admitted that she does go to church often, amid rumors that her career as a sex symbol of sorts had put a stop to it. However, continuing on in her quest to be the hottest lady that ever came out of the Glee franchise, Rivera is certainly succeeding. Often selected as one of the hottest women in the world, Rivera has been featured on the cover of Latina magazine, Cosmo for Latinas, and was selected by People en Español for their 50 Most Beautiful list. So, to celebrate the hotness that is Naya Rivera, here are 15 of her steamiest photos ever.
15. That Time She Had A Pillow Fight
Born and raised in Santa Clarita, California, Rivera also spent a large amount of time living in Los Angeles. With Puerto Rican, African American and German heritage, Rivera is proud of her roots, and has worked closely with a number of immigration charities. In fact, Rivera is so dedicated to the cause, that she once worked on a project with famed director Guillermo Diaz, filming the effects of immigration on children and their parents, and the problems that coincide. Plus, not only does Rivera work closely with charities that deal with immigration, she also dedicates her time to a number of other respectable organizations, counting The Trevor Project, Stand Up to Cancer, The Sunshine Foundation and The Elephant Project to name but a few. And, in 2012, Rivera co-hosted the 23rd GLAAD Media Awards with then co-star Cory Monteith, as well regularly contributing towards a number of other LGBT organizations.
14. That Time She Went On Spring Break
Working within the wonderful world of Tinseltown from a young age, Rivera first began starring in commercials as an infant. That’s right, appearing in Kmart ads as a baby, she went on to star in the sitcom The Royal Family, at the tender age of four years old. Receiving positive reviews, Rivera was singled out early on, garnering a Young Artist Award nomination for performance in the show. Creating a buzz as she grew older, Rivera then went on to star in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as a number of smaller roles in shows such as Baywatch, Even Stevens, 8 Simple Rules, CSI: Miami and The Jersey. However, still without a steady career, Rivera continued working in call centers to make ends meet, as well as working as the ‘greeter’ at Abercrombie & Fitch. Dabbling in theater in Mark E. Swinton’s play, U Don’t Know Me: The Musical, Rivera also dipped her toe into music, auditioning for the legendary American Idol series.
13. That Time She Repped Gym Clothes
Working regular 9-5 jobs, as well as working within the realms of Hollywood, Rivera has also been a huge supporter of healthy eating and looking after one’s body. Often pictured working out, head to toe in gym clothes, Rivera is also heavily into sports and exercise. Displaying a perfectly sculpted body on a number of occasions, Rivera is no stranger to having her bikini body photographed. Curvy in all the right places, her regime is followed closely by women all over the world, all wanting to acquire the toned body that Rivera has managed to create. Claiming to not be obsessed with what she eats, Rivera has stated that she believes in healthy living, and not following stupid and dangerous crash diet plans, having herself suffered from an eating disorder at an early age.
12. That Time She Had Legs For Days
Receiving rave reviews throughout the first season, it was during the second season that Rivera was beginning to get noticed. Promoted to series regular at the start of season two, she was given her first solo early on, going on to perform many more throughout the series. However, it was her portrayal of a struggling teenager that really got critics going, with Santana finding it difficult to come to terms with her sexuality. Working with a number of LGBT charities as a result, her characterization was also received well within the world of LGBT advocates. Alluding to her sexuality in real life on a variety of occasions, Rivera has never fully disclosed her status with regards to her sexuality. However, during an appearance on The View in 2015, Rivera implied that she was bisexual when agreeing that bisexual women were more likely to have mental health problems than lesbian women, announcing, “no wonder I’m crazy. This just solves it all.”
11. That Time She Stood From Behind
With her career going from strength to strength, Rivera was nominated for two ALMA Awards for favorite Female Music Artist and Favorite TV Actress in a comedy. Creating a little heat, Rivera was lauded all over Hollywood with critical praise. In fact, in the run up to the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, a nomination for Rivera seemed a sure thing, especially as she was chosen by the Academy to take part in a promotional video for the upcoming event. However, dropped at the last minute, Rivera was never nominated, causing outrage among her Glee co-stars. Undeterred, it was then announced that Rivera had signed a deal with Columbia Records, with a solo album in the works for an immediate release. Getting a taste for the world of music, Rivera was also featured on the second single of the musical group 2Cellos, in which Rivera sang vocals.
10. That Time She Stood On A Rock
With her debut album taking a little longer than originally thought, Rivera released her first single, “Sorry” as a digital download, with news that her album had been stopped, due to a number of reasons. Dropped by the label not long after, it cited low record sales of her single as the main cause. Angered, Rivera released a statement denying that this was actually the case, claiming, “politics got involved so I’ve been putting it on the back burner; there are a lot of things that I’m doing that I’m excited about.” Moving into the movie industry, Rivera was cast in horror flick, At the Devil’s Door. With the movie receiving mixed reviews, it was Rivera’s performance that gained the most praise, with one reviewer calling her, “the standout, the most natural performance in the film”.
9. That Time She Wore This White Dress
Dipping her toes into a number of creative areas, Rivera finally got her big break when she was cast as Santana Lopez in the critically acclaimed, Glee. Playing the role of a high school cheerleader, Lopez was initially a villain, often shown to be a bully and sometimes violent. Stating that she drew on her own horrible experiences of high school, Rivera also studied movies such as Mean Girls and American Beauty, to really get into the part. Describing Santana as “really mean and loves boys”, she went on to say how much she loved playing the role. However, as the show went on, Lopez’s character softened, especially with regards to the blossoming girl on girl romance with fellow cheerleader, Brittany, played by Heather Morris. Claiming that she initially auditioned for the role due to the requirement of singing, dancing and acting all at once, Rivera was also a huge fan of creator Ryan Murphy.
8. That Time She Shared A Lingerie Photo On Set
Finishing her time on Glee after a whopping 99 episodes, rumors began to circulate that things were not as rosy and happy on set as audiences would like to believe. Releasing her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, a year later, Rivera confirmed that she and co-star Lea Michele were at war. That’s right, claiming that Michele, like her on screen persona Rachel Berry, “didn’t like sharing the spotlight”. In fact, Michele got so self obsessed, that when Rivera began to receive critical praise during the second season, Michele became so enraged that she ignored Rivera throughout the whole series, preferring to focus on her storylines and acting ability. Admitting that she wasn’t as close to Michele as some of the others, Rivera stated, ” Lea and I definitely weren’t the best of friends”. Ouch.
7. That Time She Was A Cheerleader
As well as spilling on her relationship with Lea Michele, Rivera also revealed a number of other tidbits in her memoir, with regards to her private life. Brutally honest, Rivera told the world that she had had an abortion. That’s right, in the middle of shooting Glee, Rivera had gotten pregnant by then boyfriend and future husband, Ryan Dorsey. Choosing to terminate the pregnancy and focus on her career instead, Rivera failed to tell Dorsey until much later. Discussing that time in her life, Rivera stated, “it’s one of those little scars in life, when I was writing the book, it was really important to include that, because this is … a part of my story and a part of who I am. And like I said, the statistic is crazy — there are so many women out there that are going through this and nobody gets to talk about it.”
6. That Time She Hooked Up With Heather Morris
Playing a lesbian on screen, Rivera became close to co-star Heather Morris who played her on screen girlfriend and eventual wife. A firm fan favorite, the pair received positive reviews world wide. However, off screen, life couldn’t be any different, with Rivera going on to marry boyfriend Ryan Dorsey in 2014. Having a baby boy one year later, Rivera later revealed why she decided to tell Dorsey about her earlier abortion years later, claiming that, “it was really nerve racking”. Taking the news well, Dorsey was supportive, with Rivera stating that it made the whole thing so much easier, claiming Dorsey had always been “the one”. Yet, sadly the pair split not long after, divorcing after just two years together, with the couple stating, “after much consideration, we have made the decision to end our marriage, our priority is and always will be our beautiful son that we share together.”
5. That Time She Posed For Maxim
As well as dishing the dirt on her fellow co-stars, as well as revealing she had an abortion before the birth of her son, Rivera also let loose on a number of other ‘tell all’ secrets, again discussing her co-stars on the popular TV show, Glee. Having dated cast member, Mark Salling, Rivera discussed her shock when it was revealed that the actor had been arrested on child porn charges. With the pair having been broken up for a number of years already, the actress wrote, “I can’t say I was totally shocked, but still WTF”. Again, speaking of her ex-boyfriend, Rivera went on to say, “my son’s nanny actually told me about it when the story broke. Then I had no doubt that God really did have my back along the way.” Knowing he was trouble all along, Rivera struggled with the idea that she was involved with such a person, stating, “I think everyone should have that one relationship where you look back and ask yourself, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ You’ll learn something and you won’t regret, unless, of course, that relationship was with someone who had a sizeable stash of child porn on his computer. Then, by all means, regret everything.”
4. That Time She Made Tires Sexy
When co-star and friend Corey Monteith died in 2013, Rivera was as shocked as everyone else when learned of the cause. Claiming that she had no idea with regards to his drug and alcohol use, she went on to explain how shocked she was when she first saw him drink. Sober for a number of years, Monteith began drinking at a cast party, which saw a number of his fellow co-stars worry about him. “He noticed that we noticed,” Rivera wrote in her now famed memoir, “he explained that he wanted to be able to drink in moderation, that he could do it and be just like everybody else. He seemed calm and confident about it, so we all just accepted it. To be honest, I don’t think many of us really understood how addiction worked, nor did we fully realize the extent of his former addiction.” Learning that he had overdosed not long after, Rivera revealed how his death had affected her, exclaiming, “since he died, a lot of us have spent time wondering and talking about what would have happened if someone had stepped in or confronted him about what was going on. Or what if he’d been trying to talk to someone about what was going on and just thought no one cared?”
2. That Time She Was Super Steamy
Photographed by legendary Photographer Terry Richardson, Rivera was snapped showcasing some serious underboob. Complete with washboard stomach and killer abs, the shoot was in aid of Rivera’s then glistening pop career, while promoting catchy tune, “Sorry”. Known for his more than revealing photographs, Richardson was also the man behind the infamous Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video, in which the famous pop star was seen straddling a large.. well.. wrecking ball. Snapping Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham to name but a few, Richardson can now cross Rivera off his list, with the Glee actress looking hotter than ever. Also, pictured with then boyfriend and rapper Big Sean, the photographs capture the beautiful chiseled physiques that both Rivera and Big Sean possess. Getting together in early 2013, the couple quickly became hot property, often snapped looking adoringly in love. However, like all good things, the couple fell apart with rumors that Big Sean had cheated on her with none other than Ariana Grande.
2. That Time She Made Surfing Sexy
Getting together in 2013, rapper Big Sean and Rivera announced their engagement not long after, seemingly exceptionally happy. However, with things taking a turn for the worse, the rapper was accused of cheating on Rivera, with pop starlet Ariana Grande. Claiming that she had caught them in the act at his home in Los Angeles, Rivera stated, “we’d been fighting for five straight days while he was traveling, and then on the one day that he was back in L.A., he said he didn’t want to see me”. Going to his house to speak to him face to face, Rivera revealed, “I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? … It rhymes with ‘Smariana Schmande’.” Dumping his ass, Big Sean and Grande continued to date, breaking up only eight months later.
1. That Time She Was Sprawled On A Red Chair
Not your average 30-year-old, Naya Rivera has done a lot in the past three decades. From husbands, bad boyfriends, cheating scandals and jealous co-stars, to divorcing, losing friends, abortions and broken records, Rivera has most definitely lived. That’s right, even in school, Rivera was suspended twice, as well as suffering from an eating disorder. Claiming that she “avoided food at all costs”, Rivera also admitted to having a boob job at only 18 years old. However, now settled, Rivera is seemingly in a good place in her life, with her career going from strength to strength. Still involved with music as well as dancing, Rivera has also channeled a new promising career within the movie industry, with new movie, Mad Families, out later this year.