Though she's best known for the role of Santana Lopez on Fox's musical series "Glee," on which she starred from 2009 to 2015, Naya Rivera's acting career began with television roles in early 1990s. Here is a list of 11 of Rivera's most memorable roles throughout her career, from her beginnings as a child actress in the early up through her most recent role in "Step Up: High Water."
"The Royal Family" (1991-92)
Rivera's first television role was in the CBS sitcom "The Royal Family" when she was just 4 years old. She played the granddaughter of a mail carrier (Red Foxx) and his wife (Della Reese) whose grown daughter moves back home with her three kids.
"Family Matters" (1992-93)
She played another little girl named Gwendolyn in three episodes of "Family Matters." In one scene in the episode "Heart Strings," she asks Steve Urkel for love advice.
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1993)
Her next role was in one 1993 episode of "Fresh Prince" called "Bundle of Joy," playing a little girl named Cindy when she was 6 years old.
She also appeared in one 1996 episode of "Baywatch" called "Scorcher" as a girl named Willa who gets lost on the beach.
"Even Stevens" (2002)
In 2002, Rivera appeared in one episode of this Disney Channel comedy, playing a girl who gets peeved when Shia LaBeouf's Louis gets gum stuck in her hair
"Soul Food" (2003)
She played Ahmad's girlfriend Lauryn in two 2003 episodes of this series that followed a multigenerational Black family in Chicago.
"The Bernie Mac Show" (2002-06)
Rivera had a recurring role in this Fox sitcom, appearing in 11 episodes as a girl named Donna who befriends Mac's niece Vanessa (Camille Winbush).
Rivera's best-known role was Santana Lopez on Ryan Murphy's Fox musical series "Glee." Santana is a popular cheerleader who explores her identity as a lesbian and later falls in love with and marries her best friend, Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris).
"The View" (2014-15)
As she was wrapping work on "Glee," Rivera made six appearances as a guest co-host on the beloved ABC daytime talk show.
"Devious Maids" (2015)
She also had a recurring role as a maid named Blanca Alvarez in the third season of this Marc Cherry dramedy-mystery series.
"Step-Up: Highwater" (2018-19)
in this YouTube Original series, Rivera co-stars as the head of a performing arts high school in Atlanta where twins Tal and Janelle Baker have enrolled after moving from Ohio.