• Kaitlin Popow

Remembering Naya Rivera and Her Legacy

Updated: Nov 17


The life of Naya Rivera was nothing short of extraordinary. In a short 33 years, Naya Rivera lived a life most would dream of. She found great success in the world of television, was an activist for many popular causes, and most important to her, she was a mom.


Rivera began her career as a child, appearing in numerous TV commercials before beginning her TV show journey. At the age of four, she landed her first role, as Hillary Winston on CBS' The Royal Family. Only a handful of years later she would go on to land her famous role of Santana Lopez on the hit Fox show, Glee. While showcasing her acting and musical talents on Glee, she signed a music contract with Columbia records in 2011. She went on to release the single "Sorry" featuring Big Sean to moderate success. In 2013 Rivera took her skills to the big screen staring in numerous films. Adding to her amazing resume, in 2016 she released a memoir titled, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. Her most recent role was Collette Jones in the TV series, Step Up: High Water.


Through all of that, however, her biggest accomplishment was being a mother to her son, Josey. At just four years old, it was evident that Josey was Naya's best friend. Days before her disappearance, Naya posted this sweet photo to Instagram with the caption, "Just the Two of Us."

Within 24 hours of posting the sweet photo, Naya Rivera would be announced missing on July 8, shocking the world. The star was last seen on Wednesday July 8, renting a boat on Lake Piru with son, Josey. After the boat was not returned in the proper time period, the boat owner went out on the lake to search for the missing pontoon boat. He soon found the boat with little Josey sound asleep, alone.


Authorities searched the large lake for days, encountering horrible diving conditions, making the search nearly impossible. When Rivera's son was interviewed, he told law enforcement that his beloved mom boosted him onto the boat deck from behind. He continued to tell investigators that when he looked back, she had disappeared. Investigators are assuming that the current of the water became too strong for Naya and Josey to stay afloat while swimming. That is when Rivera used her last bit of energy to lift her son onto the boat to safety.

Family, friends, and past co-workers fled to the Lake to help in the search for Naya. Through many emotional moments, the family begged for Rivera to be returned to them. On the morning of July 13th, also the 7-year anniversary to Cory Monteith's death, Rivera's fellow Glee stars joined the Rivera family at the lake hand-in-hand, praying for Naya's return.


After a long search process and countless prayers, on the afternoon of Monday, July 13th, Naya Rivera's body was found. We pray that Naya's legacy will be remembered for years to come, and her family finds peace that her last minutes alive were spent doing what she loved, being a mom.




Sources: LA Times, IMDB

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