When Naya Rivera came on the scene, she definitely caught our collective attention as the sassy Santana Lopez during her time on Glee. Since the series took its final curtain call in 2015, Naya has been keeping busy popping up over the years on Devious Maids and RuPaul's Drag Race — as well as releasing the very personal memoir Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. On top of that, she's also been raising her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, her child with her estranged husband, Ryan Dorsey.
So, to say that Naya has been unapologetic about the way she's lived her very public life might be an understatement, and when The Daily Dish recently caught up with her, via email, she opened up about all that, as well as her new project, Step Up: High Water, which debuts this week. On the series, she plays Collette, a former dancer who now works at the performing arts school at the center of the show's drama. (Well, that sounds like a familiar kind of story...) It also stars Ne-Yo — and features Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (you know from the Step Up movie) in the executive producers' seats.
This feels like the perfect project for someone with your talents — is that what drew you to it? What was it about Collette?
Naya Rivera: I was very excited to be on board with this project that allows me to showcase all of the things I love to do. I love that Collette is so complex. She has all of these situations and demons that she is fighting but is so good at compartmentalizing them. Its fun to play her and dig into all of the layers that yields.
This feels like a more adult role than what your fans are used to seeing of you. Tell us what it was like to step into Collette's shoes.
This role is definitely more adult than any I have played before. It was incredibly refreshing to play true to my age. It felt like stepping into a new chapter that I can’t wait to explore more.
The show is based in Atlanta, and since we're Bravo, I have to ask, how would she do as a Real Housewife of Atlanta?
OK, now we’re talking! LOL I am personally a huge Housewives fan, so this obviously has crossed my mind. I think Collette would fare pretty well on the ATL Housewives!
How would Collette have fared on Glee?
Collette would have done really well on Glee!
You're clearly very busy. How do you find balance with life as a mom and with work?
It's always a balancing act, but I am actually pretty good at time management and prioritizing. I think every mom is!
The show is about young people wanting to break into the industry. What is the biggest lesson you've learned from life in the spotlight?
I’m still learning.
Check out Naya in action in Step Up: High Water, below.