When Glee turned the must-see TV current in 2009, Naya Rivera’s Santana Lopez quickly turned in all probability probably the most beloved characters of the high-school musical dramedy. Though she was initially meant to be a minor antagonist with a sharp tongue and salacious methods, Rivera’s vibrant persona, hilarious one-liners, and easy vocal vitality shot her to sequence widespread by season two. She was casually cruel in a signifies that was every terrifying and endearing, solely because of Rivera’s functionality to convey out her vulnerability by way of her defensiveness.
Santana’s nuanced exploration of her sexuality resonated with many viewers and her relationship with Heather Morris’s Brittany S. Pierce (the availability of a lot of heartbreakingly attractive covers from Rivera) turned one in all many current’s focal plots all via the sequence. They flirted, fell in love, obtained right here out to their dad and mother, and at last obtained married. And whereas the “Brittana” love story was an infinite part of Santana’s journey, her sojourn from closeted highschool indicate girl to an out-and-proud artist was beautifully fleshed out by Rivera’s swish portrayal. Rivera’s place on Glee helped change queer illustration in television — significantly for Latinas. She sang her technique to self-discovery, a life full of love, and a legacy as in all probability probably the most fascinating characters to grace our screens.
In remembrance of Rivera, who died whereas boating collectively together with her 4-year-old son, we’re wanting once more at her most extraordinary Glee performances from Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” to Alicia Keys’s “Girl on Fire.”