Kurt and Santana did not always get along on Glee, but Chris Colfer and Naya Rivera's friendship behind the scenes was a different story. In memory of Rivera, Colfer penned a heartfelt essay about what his costar was like on set for Variety. Glee fans should probably grab some tissues before reading Chris Colfer's essay about Naya Rivera, because it's emotional, funny, and filled with all the quips Rivera would say to cheer up her castmates when production got especially rough.
After Rivera was pronounced dead on Monday, July 13, Colfer was one of the many Glee stars to post tributes of their former castmate. A week later, on Tuesday, July 21, Variety published a longer essay written by Colfer. The new piece offers more insight than ever into what made Rivera so special behind the scenes on Glee, as Colfer reflects on the many ways she would diffuse tension, fully commit to a song, and disappear into her role as Santana Lopez during scenes.
In praising Rivera's acting ability, Colfer referenced a memorable scene in which Santana hurled a string of insults at Kurt that went viral as fans remembered Rivera on Twitter, writing: "Sometimes, I’d become so lost in Naya’s performance, I’d forget I was in the scene with her. Even when her character was tearing mine to shreds, I couldn’t help but respect how brilliantly she delivered the insults."
Probably the most uplifting moments of the essay, though, are the parts where Colfer reveals the quick little remarks Rivera would deliver on set to help cheer everyone up during difficult days. He recalled following her around on set to jot down everything she would say on his phone, and how she'd joke that the actors had a bad internship or were cast on a reality show when their shooting schedule became particularly demanding:
On particularly rough days of filming, you might find her outside enjoying a cigarette in her bright red cheerleading uniform. She would raise an invisible glass and say, “To being role models!” or “City of dreams, huh?” ... Once, during a heated exchange between an actor and a director, I’ll never forget her turning to me with a cheeky grin and asking, “Is this a bad time to tell someone the DVD player in my trailer isn’t working?”
Colfer summed up how Rivera was viewed on the Glee set by calling her "the cool older sister you went to for advice, to blow off steam, or to get the hottest take on the latest gossip." He praised his former costar for always calling out mistreatment and standing up to authority when need be, saying she always made him feel protected.
Fans can read Colfer's full essay about Rivera on Variety.