Imagine you’re alone with the one and only Naya Rivera in a high-rise hotel room in the middle of downtown San Francisco. She’s in a breathtakingly gorgeous, revealing gown sitting across from you smiling and laughing. And, yes, she’s just as gorgeous and friendly in person as you’d imagine. While it may be nearly impossible to not let your mind wander into fantasyland in her presence, truth be told, her manager and publicist are also in the room and one of the reasons she is so jubilant is she has just been told that she’s a frontrunner in the AfterEllen.com Hot 100 list for this year.
Regardless of any romantic fantasy, there’s no mistaking that Rivera has had one hell of a year and it’s also not a chore to believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg for her. As the role of Santana Lopez grew from a small role in the Glee pilot two years ago to a front-and-center storyline this season featuring her coming out and her unrequited love for her BFF, Brittany (played by Heather Morris), Rivera has handled the role so realistically and convincingly that she was asked to host this past weekend’s GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco. Just before starting her hosting duties, she sat down — yes, in her hotel room — to talk exclusively with AfterEllen.com.
AfterEllen.com: You’re hosting the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco! What was your initial reaction when you were asked and the importance of it?
AE: I went back and watched the pilot of Glee recently and the fact that you’re now such a major player on the show…there’s no way you saw any of this coming, right?
AE: I’m guessing you’re hearing a lot from young girls who can relate to what Santana is going through.
AE: When the story first started with Santana and Brittany and there was brief mention of the two of them together, were there big discussions about the direction of all this? Whether they’d be bi or gay or what?
*Warning: Some Glee spoilers on the following page*