Early life[ edit ] Rivera was born and raised in the Valencia neighborhood of Santa Clarita, California , and has lived in or around Los Angeles for most of her life. Career beginnings[ edit ] Rivera appeared in commercials for Kmart as a baby, but her first significant acting job was at age 4 when she appeared as Hillary Winston in The Royal Family sitcom in She was hired for a single episode guest appearance on The Bernie Mac Show in , but she was brought back to work on a further ten episodes throughout all five seasons.
Swinton's play, U Don't Know Me: The Musical, both in Los Angeles and when the production was taken on national tour. Breakthrough and acclaim with Glee[ edit ] Rivera at the San Diego Comic Con In , Rivera was cast as Santana Lopez , a high school cheerleader, on Fox 's musical comedy series Glee , about a high school glee club.
Rivera's character comes off as a cold-hearted and vicious cheerleader, who often shows her softer side to fellow cheerleader Brittany played by Heather Morris.
She's really witty so I love playing her. During the second season, Rivera's role in the show was radically changed when it was revealed that her character was a lesbian. Rivera portrayed Santana struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, with her love for her best friend, and with her inability to come out of the closet.
She received favorable reviews for her performance. In the second half of the series' third season, she was given the opportunity to do a duet with Ricky Martin ,  and worked with Gloria Estefan , who was cast as Santana's mother. Supporting Players" photo shoot,  and Rivera was also honored by E!
She was also chosen by the TV Academy to take part in a promotional video for the upcoming awards ceremony. Musical solo debut and film debut[ edit ] In May , it was announced that Rivera had signed a deal with Columbia Records to produce a solo album.
She also starred in the music video for the song. While Diaz's part is about telling the stories of young dreamers and the fear they have of their mothers being deported, Rivera's PSA is about the problems immigrants deal with or face in the United States. The film has been described by its director, Nicholas McCarthy , as "a unique kind of genre film I think, almost like a Rubik's cube of a horror movie.
Rivera's acting, however, received praise. Her Vera is headstrong and rigid but cut with just the right amount of vulnerability. Rivera released a memoir titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up in September Rosie O'Donnell remarked on a recent study that showed that bisexual women were more likely to have mental health problems than lesbians, to which Rivera replied, "Rosie, no wonder I'm crazy.
This just solves it all. She stated, "It's hard and sort of sad that you do feel the need to tread lightly when you say, 'Yes, I do go to church and I do read the Bible,' because once you do that, people will be like, 'Why are her boobs out?
Why is her midriff showing? Why is she playing a lesbian?