Who is Naya Rivera?

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2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

Naya Rivera is an actress best known for playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez on Fox’s hit musical show, “Glee.”

Naya, who is half Puerto Rican, was born Jan. 12, 1987 and raised in or near Los Angeles by parents George and Yolanda Rivera. Her brother, Mychael Rivera, is a tight end in the NFL.

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As a child, Naya began her acting career with commercials for Kmart. But her true break came at the age of 4 when she was cast in the short-lived sitcom “The Royal Family.” For the next decade, Naya worked steadily, appearing in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Family Matters,” “Baywatch,” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” When she wasn’t acting, Naya worked as a nanny, telemarketer, and greeter at an Abercrombie & Fitch store.

In 2009, Naya landed the role that would turn her into a star — snarky ”mean girl” Santana Lopez on the smash hit “Glee.” As fan interest in her character grew, so did Rivera’s part. In the second season, she was upgraded to a regular, assigned solos, and given a meaty storyline about Santana’s sexuality.

MUST SEE: Big Sean Says Naya Rivera Doesn’t Care About The Songs He’s Penned For His Ex

Rivera became a fixture in the spotlight, with appearances at various GLAAD Awards ceremonies across the country. She also participated in an episode of MTV’s “This Is How I Made It,” and starred in an M&Ms commercial during the 2013 Super Bowl.

With her role on “Glee” diminished, Rivera has been working on her debut album. She released the first single, “Sorry,” a collaboration with boyfriend Big Sean.

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