Naya Rivera was a mother, singer, model and actress – who was best known for her role as Santana Lopez in the hit musical-comedy series Glee.
Following the news of her tragic passing on Monday, fans of the show have been rewatching their favourite moments featuring Naya’s beloved character – a sassy, confident cheerleader who showed emotional depth and character development throughout the show’s six seasons.
From incredible song covers, to exploring Santana’s sexuality and becoming an iconic LGBTQ character, we have rounded up Naya’s top moments on the show.
Coming to terms with Santana’s sexuality (Season 2 Episode 15)
This episode centred around the topic of sex and sexuality, and saw Gwyneth Paltrow star as a substitute teacher in a sex education class.
In a moving scene, Gwyneth joined Naya and Heather Morris, who played Brittany Pierce in the show, as they covered Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.
Santana is moved to tears following the performance, and expresses her love for her best friend Brittany after battling confusion with her sexuality.
Naya’s performance in this episode received high praise, with The Houston Chronicles writing that Santana’s “fear, her confusion and her journey were all rendered with honesty and even a subtlety rarely exhibited on this show.”
Santana comes out to her friends and family (Season 3 Episode 7)
After feuding with Santana, quarterback Finn retaliated by outing her while she battled to come to terms with her sexuality.
Feeling bad for what he did, Finn organised a Glee club assignment dedicated to Santana to show that they supported and loved her for who she is.
Santana then found the courage to come out to her grandmother, telling her she wants to be loved for who she really is.
She said: “I love girls the way that I’m supposed to feel about boys. It’s something that’s always been inside of me and I really want to share it with you because I love you so much and I want you to know me — who I really am.”
“When I’m with Brittany, I finally understand what people are talking about when they talk about love. I’ve tried so hard to push this feeling away and keep it locked inside but every day feels like a war.”
“I walk around so mad at the world but I’m really just fighting with myself and I don’t want to fight anymore. I’m just too tired. I have to just be me.”
Her moving tribute to Cory Monteith (Season 5 Episode 3)
In a tragically poignant scene, Santana paid tribute to Corey Monteith’s character Finn during the show’s fifth season.
The actor sadly passed away back in 2013, after he suffered an overdose.
In an episode dedicated to the star, Santana covered The Band Perry’s If I Die Young in a beautifully moving performance – which sees the character break down over the loss of her friend.
Proposing to Brittany (Season 6 Episode 3)
One of the show’s most loved couples reached a relationship milestone in this episode, as Santana proposed to Brittany.
After their mash-up performance of Hand In My Pocket and Feel The Earth, Santana told Brittany to take a seat before telling her she wants to “mash-up with her forever”.
“I don’t want to live my life without my one true love,” she admitted, before getting down on one knee.
“Some people love someone because they make them a better person and that’s not why I love you because you’ve always just wanted me to be myself.”
“You’re my favourite person in the whole world,” she added.
When Santana stood up to her homophobic grandmother (Season 6 Episode 6)
As Brittany and Santana plan their wedding invitation list, Santana was hesitant about inviting her grandmother Alma – who disavowed her ever since she came out as gay.
Santana then met with her grandmother to invite her to the wedding, and introduced her to Brittany as her fiancée.
However, Alma’s prejudice was too strong and she rejected their engagement, stating that it was a “sin”.
In the powerful scene, Santana took Brittany’s hand and told her grandmother: “This is what real love looks like.”
“I love you so much but Brit is my family now, and if having her in my family means not having you then that’s a trade I’ll take any day,” she added.
On the latest episode of Goss Chats, Ali Ryan chats to Ronan Keating about his star-studded upcoming music special, and working with Robbie Williams on a special new song dedicated to Stephen Gately.
#GossChats is sponsored by top aesthetic clinic Haus of JeJuve, which is now back open for bookings.
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On this week’s episode of #GossChats @itsalirose chats to chart-topping singer @rokeating who has announced a star-studded TV special, coming to Virgin Media this month. In this interview the Dublin star also opens up about working with huge names on his new album, and the upcoming release of a special song dedicated to Stephen Gately. #GossChats is sponsored by top aesthetic clinic @haus_of_jejuve