Remembering Naya Rivera: Watch the Glee Actress' First-Ever E! Interview

The Glee actress gushes about learning new skills on set, her fans and more in her first-ever E! News interview.

By Alyssa Ray Jul 14, 2020 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Naya Rivera's 1st E! Interview: Live From E! Rewind

Remembering an incredible talent.

On Monday, July 13, Naya Rivera was confirmed dead after she went missing last week during a boating outing with her 4-year-old son Josey on Lake Piru in Ventura County. She was only 33 years old.

Naya became a household name after landing her big break on the Fox series, Glee. And, in her first E! interview, the triple threat performer made it clear that the musical comedy-drama was her dream job.

"It's just been the biggest blessing, ‘cause I've been juggling acting and singing and dancing all my life," she exclusively shared with E! at the time. "To finally be on something where I can do all three in one show—it's crazy."

At the time of her disappearance on July 8, Naya's son was found sleeping in the pontoon boat they had rented for the afternoon. The actress-singer's body was discovered 5 days later.

After news came that a body was found at Lake Piru, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said they are "confident" it's Rivera's. He went on to state that, early Monday morning, the body was found floating at the surface of the water by personnel searching by boat.

Naya Rivera Dead at 33: Remembering the Glee Star's Life in Pictures

Following the news of her death, many of Naya's former co-stars took to social media to pay their respects.

Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel on Glee, wrote, "How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post? How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can't. Her brilliance and humor were unmatched. Her beauty and talent were otherworldly."

Watch: Naya Rivera Dead at Age 33

He continued, "She spoke truth to power with poise and fearlessness. She could turn a bad day into a great day with a single remark. She inspired and uplifted people without even trying. Being close to her was both a badge of honor and a suit of armor. Naya was truly one of a kind, and she always will be. Sending all my love to her wonderful family and her beautiful son."

Jane Lynch, who played Coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, also paid tribute to the fallen actress, calling her "a force."

Mark Sullivan/FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

In the vintage interview above, Naya described Glee as "such a family atmosphere."

She noted, "It's not overwhelming, I think it makes it more fun. You know, because when we're in dance rehearsals, it's like 8 hours of lock down with 12 of your best friends… Everything we do is so fun, it's such a family atmosphere."

As the interview continued, Naya expressed her excitement over playing the show's villain and working with professional cheerleaders.

"I've gained so much from all of this with the dancing and the cheering," she relayed. "My special interests list on my resume is really long now."

Inside Naya Rivera's Incredibly Full Life and the Legacy She Leaves Behind

Even though Glee went on to be an award-winning series, a humble Naya said it hadn't dawned "on me that all of these people are watching the show."

Naya added, "It's fun because, you know, you get to tap into things that you don't get to express in everyday life."

Although she gushed that the Glee fans were "amazing," Naya revealed in the interview that her mother was her no. 1 fan.

"My mom is actually hysterical, she'll go on a blog or something and find that someone said something," the Sorry Not Sorry author said with a laugh. "She will post to things! She's gone too far…She's so cute."

As we previously reported, Rivera is survived by her parents, younger brother and her son, who her final social media post was dedicated to.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

You can watch Naya's entire first E! interview in the video above.