Glee star Dianna Agron is sharing sweet memories of her late co-star, Naya Rivera.
Dianna recently appeared on the Allison Interviews podcast to speak about both her time on Glee and her current project, a starring role in the comedy-drama film As They Made Us. When the subject of Naya came up, Dianna shared with podcast host Allison Kugel that Naya was her "first friend" on the Glee set.
“We were quite isolated because we weren’t involved in the entire pilot, Dianna explained. “We had our very brief moments in the pilot, and everybody else was very involved in the singing, dancing, and all the rehearsals. So, she was my point person and we kind of instilled each other with confidence in those moments.”
The Shiva Baby star played popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray alongside Naya's Santana, a fellow McKinley High Cheerio. According to Dianna, Naya was a wonderful friend and person, and a strong presence that inspired Dianna's own journey of personal growth and strength.
"She was just very unique and special in the way she carried herself with such confidence and certainty. If she believed in something, or in you as a person, she would always uplift those ideas," Dianna shared. "She was very, very strong in a way that I think I have adapted to moments in my own life that have been quite difficult. She had that strength in spades. Any strength that I had she had ten times more of it."
Dianna called Naya's presence "really inspiring and nurturing to be around," adding that her friend was also "wickedly funny." Naya's spirit has clearly stayed close to Dianna's heart in the years since Glee and Naya's untimely death in July 2020.
The loss of Naya impacted her former Glee co-stars in immeasurable ways. In 2021, as part of the annual GLAAD Media Awards, the cast held a virtual reunion to pay tribute to their late friend, and to honor the positive influence her Glee character had on the young queer community.
In 2020 several members of the cast, including Dianna, established a holiday charity drive in honor of Naya, for the Alexandria House, a transitional residence for women and children that Naya regularly contributed to.
“She is one of the people that I speak about when I say it’s so strange to think she is not here," Dianna said on the podcast. "She had years and years of love and gifts to give people, and I was so lucky to know her.”
You can watch Dianna Agron's full guest appearance on the Allison Interviews podcast below: