Naya Rivera Remembered As "Cool Older Sister" by Glee Co-Star Chris Colfer in Touching Essay

In a heartfelt essay, Glee’s Chris Colfer remembered co-star Naya Rivera as the "cool older sister" who made him feel “protected” on set.

By Cydney Contreras Jul 21, 2020 9:55 PMTags

Chris Colfer is the latest Glee star to reflect on his friendship with the late Naya Rivera.

The two actors became friends when they starred alongside one another on Glee, a show in which his character, Kurt Hummel, often clashed with hers, Santana Lopez. Despite their frequent onscreen spats, Colfer wrote in an essay for Variety that she made him "feel protected."  

"She was the cool older sister you went to for advice, to blow off steam or to get the hottest take on the latest gossip. Just being in Naya's presence made you feel protected and regardless of the situation, you knew she'd have your back," he recalled. "She was never afraid to stand up to authority, she always called out mistreatment where she saw it and she always told you the truth—even when it was hard to hear."

Naya Rivera's Best Glee Performances

He noted that on the set, Rivera was recognized as the "funniest and most quotable" person, with the ability to lighten the mood in an instant. Colfer shared that her quick wit and charm was a godsend on "particularly rough days of filming." 

"Once, during a heated exchange between an actor and a director, I'll never forget her turning to me with a cheeky grin and asking, 'Is this a bad time to tell someone the DVD player in my trailer isn't working?"' the star wrote. 

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for EW

Regarding her work ethic and onscreen prowess, Colfer described,  "In fact, the process of losing her has been such a nightmare, I find myself wondering if Naya was even real or if she was just a dream all along. How could a human being be that talented, that hilarious and that beautiful at once? How could one person be responsible for so much joy and be the subject of so many wonderful memories?"

This immense talent, Colfer stated, is what makes it so difficult to give Rivera the "tribute she deserves." 

He continued, "Her heroic and groundbreaking portrayal of Santana Lopez on Glee inspired millions of young people around the world, especially in the LGBTQIA community, and it will be treasured for generations to come."


"Naya leaves behind a void that only Naya herself could fill," Colfer concluded. "To have a friend like her, even briefly, is to be blessed beyond belief."

Rivera was pronounced dead on July 13 after the Ventura County Sheriff's Dept. recovered her remains from Lake Piru, where she and her son, Josey Dorsey, had been swimming five days before. The coroner's report stated the actress died in an accidental drowning.

Since her death, numerous stars from Glee and more have expressed their condolences for her son and her other loved ones. 

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