Fox hit Glee has never shied away from the topic of homosexuality, something for which at least one of the show’s actresses is thankful.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d actually be playing a teen lesbian. I didn’t think it was going to go this far,” said Naya Rivera, who plays cheerleader Santana on the show, speaking to the Los Angeles Times. “But I’m glad that it did, because there have been a lot of fans who have expressed that they’ve been going through similar situations in their lives.”
Santana’s story line is unique in that it was mostly inspired by the show’s fans, affectionately known as “Gleeks.” After giving her and fellow cheerleader Brittany the portmanteau “Brittana,” members of Glee’s devoted following made their wishes for the two to get together known to the show’s creators.
“I didn’t know where they were going to take the story line, but I ended up having a lot of fun playing with it,” said Rivera, a former child actor who worked as a telemarketer and a greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch before being cast on Glee. “I’ve gotten to show off different sides of who Santana is, and I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly great response.”
As Rivera tells it, the Santana character has made a lasting impression on multiple lives. “I’ve heard from girls that are in high school, they’re 16, 17, and they’re like, ‘I came out to my mom,’ or ‘I came out to my friends, and thank you for helping me do that.’”