Naya Rivera plays the sharp-tongued cheerleader turned glee club member Santana on TV’s mega-hit show Glee. This has been a big gay year for the 24 year-old actress. Her character just came out as a lesbian, declaring her love for her dim but lovable BFF Brittany (Heather Morris) and Rivera became a prominent LGBT ally, hosting the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco on May 14.
Rivera’s approach to portraying a lesbian was simple.
“When I got handed the story line and went to go attack the scenes, I just put myself in the mindset of like, everybody’s been in love with somebody at one point or another, and it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female. I just wanted to portray love, and how it feels to be in love with someone. That’s what I went off of. I was pretty much gender blind when it came to that, actually, so that’s sort of my inspiration: just love.”
Rivera encourages other straight allies to lend their support to the fight for LGBT equality, as she acknowledges the power that media plays in changing hearts and minds.
“I think that GLAAD is a great organization and a great cause and [LGBT equality is] something that gets a lot of attention but it’s also greatly ignored. There is so much progress that we still need to make in this area. I encourage everyone to get on board, because the more people the better. There’s strength in numbers.”
Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards: Watch Here