Christina Milian On ‘Step Up’ Role & Replacing Naya Rivera (Exclusive) – Hollywood Life

Christina Milian Felt ‘So Honored’ To Be ‘Trusted’ To Take Over Naya Rivera’s ‘Step Up’ Role (Exclusive)

Christina Milian is stepping into the role of Collette Jones in 'Step Up' season 3, replacing Naya Rivera after her tragic death in 2020.

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Step Up season 3 premieres on October 16, and Christina Milian is taking over the role of Collette Jones. The role was originated by the late Naya Rivera. Christina spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about playing the character after Naya.

Christina Milian
Christina Milian as Collette Jones. (STARZ)

“Stepping into the role of Collette Jones was challenging. It was fun. I felt so honored that they trusted me to play this character, but also knowing the situation. This character has existed for two seasons, has a very strong storyline, and there’s so many layers to this woman. With so much respect to Naya Rivera and her acting, like, I actually was a big fan. As an actress and as a mother, to me, I felt so connected even to that situation, it was a big choice for me to actually even take on the role,” Christina told HollywoodLife.

She continued, “When I eventually did make that choice, I think it was a common kind of belief between myself, STARZ, the same thing with Holly [Sorensen], that, hey, you can do this, you can figure it out. We can figure this out consecutively. We can tell this story in a classy way. You can do this, and you can become your own version of Collette. It took me some time. I did do some praying. I even cried, I’ll admit it. I had some days that I did cry about it. It has nothing to do with anybody on set. It was just like, what it is. I think after much prayer and just talking to myself and trusting what this was I said, ‘Okay, trust the process. You deserve this, and now’s your time for the fans of Step Up, for the fans of Naya Rivera, for the fans of Collette Jones to continue this legacy and tell this story in a way that is your own.”

Naya passed away in July 2020 following a tragic boating accident. The actress drowned at Lake Piru in California while swimming with her son, Josey. She was 33 years old. At the time, production was about to get underway for the third season, but it was put on hold after her death.

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera played the role of Collette in the first 2 seasons. (Broadimage/Shutterstock)

Christina noted that seeing Ne-Yo on set allowed her to get into her “comfort zone. It made me feel very happy to see his face and also be acting with him in a way that both of us had never acted before. It made it really special.”

Christina and Ne-Yo, who plays Sage Odom in the series, have known each other for years. “This is the first time we’ve worked together in a dramatic setting that was meant to be dramatic versus one that would up dramatic,” Ne-Yo quipped. “I’ve known the powerhouse that is Christina Milian for a little while now.”

Sage and Collette have a rich history together, and Ne-Yo teased that the pair will face their fair share of ups and downs in season 3. “I think you really get to see the grit of the both of them in the third season,” Ne-Yo said. “They face challenges bigger than any they’ve faced in any other previous seasons in the third season. You really get to see what they’re made of as people as opposed to just two people that are kind of tolerating yet falling in love with each other, being in love with each other. Everything’s all good when it’s all good, and that’s every relationship. It’s easy to talk about how much you love the person when things are going good. It’s when things start going bad that you really see what that relationship is made of, what those people are made of. And I think that this season you get to see that from both of them. You get to see what they’re truly made of.”

Ne-Yo and Christina Milian in ‘Step Up.’ (STARZ)

As for Sage, who’s found himself in trouble a number of times, Ne-Yo revealed, “Without giving too much away, I will say that the challenges that Sage Odom has faced they’re not over, but it sets the stage for growth and development for Sage as a person because that’s needed and necessary.” Step Up season 3 will airs Sundays on STARZ.