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Chris Colfer Remembers 'Cool Older Sister' Naya Rivera In Emotional Essay

Chris Colfer Naya Rivera essay

As the world continues to mourn Naya Rivera, her friends, co-stars, and loved ones are finding new ways to express their grief and honor her memory. 

For instance, on Monday, Rivera’s TV wife Heather Morris paid tribute to her friend’s life the best way she knew how, with an interpretive dance to one of Naya’s original songs. Meanwhile Chris Colfer, a published author as well as an actor, penned an emotional essay for Variety reflecting on the actress’s life and legacy. 

Related: Heather Continues To Mourn Naya With Another Heartbreaking Tribute

Though Colfer expressed doubt that “anyone on Earth could give Naya Rivera the tribute she deserves,” his was certainly a lovely and touching attempt. He wrote: 

“[The] process of losing her has been such a nightmare, I find myself wondering if Naya was even real or if she was just a dream all along. How could a human being be that talented, that hilarious and that beautiful at once? How could one person be responsible for so much joy and be the subject of so many wonderful memories?”

The 30-year-old praised Naya’s talents as a musician (“Naya didn’t just sing a song. She brought it to life.”) and as an actress (“Naya could tell a whole story with one expression.”). Acknowledging that she could humanize even the most ridiculous of Glee plot lines, he highlighted the lasting impact of her character, saying:

“Her heroic and groundbreaking portrayal of Santana Lopez on ‘Glee’ inspired millions of young people around the world, especially in the LGBTQIA community, and it will be treasured for generations to come.”

But beyond her onscreen skill, the Golden Globe winner remembered her brilliance behind the scenes, including her quick wit and “legendary” comebacks. He even recalled “[following] her around set, jotting down everything she said.” Some highlights included: 

“On particularly rough days of filming, you might find her outside enjoying a cigarette in her bright red cheerleading uniform. She would raise an invisible glass and say, ‘To being role models!’ or ‘City of dreams, huh?’

Whenever the ‘Glee’ cast commiserated about the demanding shooting schedule, Naya would instantly cheer us up with a line like, ‘Gosh, this internship blows!’ or ‘Guys, we know what we signed up for. The first person to guess the mole gets the cash.'”

Most of all, Colfer treasured Rivera’s friendship, referring to her as a ‘cool older sister.’ He continued: 

“Just being in Naya’s presence made you feel protected and regardless of the situation, you knew she’d have your back. She was never afraid to stand up to authority, she always called out mistreatment where she saw it and she always told you the truth — even when it was hard to hear.”

Related: Big Sean Mourns Ex-Fiancée Naya With Heartbreaking Tribute

The writer also shared recollections of the 33-year-old’s long-held desire to be a mother, and how the birth of her son Josey Hollis Dorsey “was like a missing piece of Naya had finally arrived.” He added:

“Their connection was magnetic, their affection was radiant and I’ve never seen a person look happier than when Naya gushed over her little boy. … Being a mom was perhaps Naya’s greatest talent of all, and as her final moments proved, Naya was an extraordinary mother until the very end.”

Colfer closed the piece by quoting Rivera’s final tweet before her death, but not before sharing a way we can all carry on her legacy:

“She is a shining example of the impact a person can have when one lives fearlessly. Her loss is a tragic reminder to celebrate every moment we possibly can with the people we love because the only thing we know for certain about life is how fragile it can be.”

So beautiful.

We continue to keep Naya and her family in our thoughts — and we appreciate all her loved ones who have shared these gorgeous remembrances with the world.

[Image via Joseph Marzullo/ & Fox/Netflix]

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Jul 21, 2020 17:11pm PDT