She became known to television audiences as Santana Lopez on Fox's hit show Glee, a role for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2010. She has received the American Latino Media Arts Award multiple times.
She had her first acting role at four years old on the TV series The Royal Family and appeared in an episode of This Is How I Made It with Chris Brown in 2012.
She made her film debut in 2009's Frankenhood. She was credited as Naya Maria Rivera.
She has one sister, Nickayla, who is a model. She was engaged to rapper Big Sean before they called off the marriage in April 2014. She then married actor Ryan Dorsey in July 2014 and a year later they welcomed their first child.
She appeared with Omarion in the 2002 music video for B2K's song "Why I Love You."