Naya Rivera Was Happy Her Acting Career Didn’t Take Off Right Away

Some actors start their entertainment career as children and experience fame right away. Although late Glee star Naya Rivera was a child star, she didn’t experience the quick success some young actors experience. Here’s why she was happy her career didn’t take off until she was older.

Naya Rivera’s early years

Naya Rivera | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Naya Rivera | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Naya Rivera began her entertainment career as a model. In her book, Sorry, Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, she joked that she “came into the world ready for the camera.” Rivera said her mother used her baby photo album to keep track of her auditions. She did print and television ads from the time she was a baby. “Soon I was Mattel’s go-to ethnic girl, doing ads for Cabbage Patch dolls or twirling around with a Bubble Angel Barbie,” wrote Rivera.

After appearing in ads, Rivera landed her first television role when she was cast as Hillary in The Royal Family alongside the late Redd Foxx. In her book, she described her career as more of a “roller-coaster ride” than a path.

Why Naya Rivera was happy her acting career took off later in life

Rivera said she reached her peak as an actor when she was an adult. It took time for her to receive the recognition she craved, but she was not bitter about it. Rivera said in her book that success is “sweeter” when it comes gradually.

As frustrating as it is not to get what you want right away, success is a lot sweeter when it’s a slow build. You want to always be getting better, and to be moving on to bigger opportunities. You want to be looking forward, not looking back wistfully at how you had everything you’d ever wanted at age six. Who wants to peak as a kid, as a teenager, or even in their early twenties? Then it’s all downhill for the next six decades, and that’s just well—yikes!

Naya Rivera in her book ‘Sorry Not Sorry’

Naya Rivera said she planned to live a long life and have a better life as she got older

Naya Rivera | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Naya Rivera | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Rivera said she was grateful for the way her career turned out. She believed she would not have been a balanced adult if she was very successful as a youngster.

“I think that everything happened for me with my career at a perfect time,” wrote Rivera. “If I’d been a successful kid actor, I’d probably be way more crazy than I am now. I think it’s hard for child actors to make the transition to adulthood (on screen and off screen) because they have everything they want at such an early age.”

Rivera said she had a long career ahead of her, and she wanted to have a life that improved with each stage. “I plan to live a long time, and I want each stage of my life to get progressively more fancy,” wrote Rivera. “If it’s all uphill from here, and I’ve still got some work to put in, then that’s fine by me.”

Read more: Naya Rivera Had the Sweetest Crush on Bryton James When They Were Kids

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