Naya Rivera: Bring It On, Bitch!

As Santana, Glee’s resident mean girl, Naya Rivera loosens her tight Cheerios ponytail to talk gay bars, drag queen inspiration, and the bisexual future of Brittana.

BY Brandon Voss

May 04 2010 6:10 PM ET

In a recent interview with The Advocate, Glee’s Heather Morris described Brittany, her ditzy character, as “a lost puppy dog” who “follows Santana around and does whatever she tells her to do.” As Santana Lopez, the slutty head cheerleader who thinks bake sales are bougie, Naya Rivera has her gay fans on an even tighter leash. Readying to go on the Glee Live! In Concert! tour, Rivera addresses those Mark Salling dating rumors and explains why Santana and Brittany should totally be together.

Advocate.com: Do I even have to tell you that Santana is a gay fan favorite on Glee?
Naya Rivera: Well, I love my gay bars — I go all the time — and we’ll literally be recognized more at gay bars than anywhere else. In fact, I don’t get recognized anywhere except for gay bars. The gay boys will be like, “Oh, my God, I’m talking to Santana!” They only call me “Santana.” It’s awesome.

We love a good bitch.
That’s exactly why they love Santana. The gay guys that work on the show love all of Santana’s bitch-faces, so yes, the gays do love a good bitch.

Do you like playing a bitch?
I do. It’s invigorating and kind of therapeutic.

Which bitches have inspired your performance?
I definitely took from Mean Girls but more so from the actual bitches I went to high school with. I was on the other end of the bitchiness back then.

Has any of Santana’s bitchiness rubbed off on you?
No, not really. I do have a little bit of her feistiness and sass in me, but I’m definitely not as quick to chop people down.

Will we ever see a softer side of Santana?
I definitely think that’s a possibility, and I would love to explore that. She does have some redeeming qualities, and a lot of what she does is all in good fun — typical high school stuff. Hopefully the writers will give me something to get her a little sympathy, but I’d always want her to be edgy.

You recently posed for Maxim. Did you have any hesitations about doing such a sexy shoot?
I literally dove in headfirst. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so when the opportunity came, I was like, “Yes, I will absolutely put down this potato chip bag and get ready.”

So are you as sexually confident as Santana?
That might be another quality that we share! [Laughs] I am pretty confident in that aspect.

Earlier this season Santana said, “Sex is not dating,” to which Brittany replied, “If it were, Santana and I would be dating.” You told Maxim that you asked your director, Brad Falchuk, “Are we doing this because she doesn't know what sex means, or did we in fact hook up?” Brad apparently answered, “Oh, no, you hooked up!” What was going through your mind?
Well, my initial reaction was that it was hysterical. I was laughing because I thought it was just another stupid thing that Brittany says. It’s kind of like a joke that the writers play, but the fans actually really love it. I think it’s awesome.

Tags: television

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