There were also celebrities who mentioned the positive impact Rivera’s character made on them as they watched her groundbreaking performance of a queer woman of color.
As Pose star Ryan Jamaal Swain wrote on Twitter, “One of the first queer characters I saw myself in, Miss Santana Lopez. A QPOC on Primetime television. Naya, thank you for handling her with care, what a force you are. It’s not easy but you ran your race. You were and forever will be one of my heros [sic].”
YouTuber Hannah Hart noted, “#NayaRivera & the Santana storyline on Glee freed many closed-minded, self-hating gays like me. Only a multi-talented performer & force like Naya could bring a background character forward into the spotlight.”
Even performers who shared the screen with her, as Demi Lovato did for a brief time in the show’s fifth season, were changed by Rivera’s character. “I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee,” the superstar shared on Twitter. “The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted (at the time) queer girls like me, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world.”