Nickayla Rivera has been through so much in the last two months. On July 13, her sister, Glee alum Naya Rivera, was confirmed to have drowned in Lake Piru after renting a boat out on the lake with her five-year-old son, whom she shares with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey. In the time since, Nickayla has publicly mourned her sister and is now fending off haters on social media as she helps raise her young nephew. Here are five things you should know about Nickayla Rivera.
1) She comes from a show business family. Nickayla’s entire family was in the entertainment business at one point in their respective careers. Her mother, Yolanda Previtire, is a former model and her father, George Rivera, is a former actor known for 2011’s Detached. Her brother is Mychal Rivera, a former football tight end who played on the Tennessee Volunteers in college and was drafted to the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round of the NFL draft in 2013. Nickayla’s sister, Naya, was undoubtedly the most famous member of her family. She played Santana Lopez on Glee from 2009-2015, earning a prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2010, which she shared with her fellow cast members.2) Nickayla is a model. The 25-year-old is currently signed with Photogenics Media. A number of the images available on the agency’s official site feature Nickayla posing in different outfits. The company is based in Los Angeles, where Nickayla currently resides. She often shares images from her various photoshoots on her Instagram page, where she boasts more than 145K followers. In 2013, she walked the runway for Naeem Khan at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
3) She is the younger sister of Naya Rivera. Nickayla is roughly eight years younger than Naya, who tragically passed at the age of 33 years old. Two weeks following Naya’s untimely passing, Nickayla took to Instagram and issued a heartfelt tribute dedicated to the beloved actress and singer. “Sister, There are no words to describe my love for you. Side by side or miles apart, our connection is infinite. Our bond is unbreakable,” she wrote in her July 25 post, featuring an old black and white photo of the sisters. In ending her tribute, Nickayla promised that she would love Naya “for eternity” and miss her dear sister “every second” of her life.
4) She’s been spending time with Naya’s ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, as they care for her nephew, Josey. Following Naya’s death, the Rivera family her and her former husband, Ryan Dorsey — whom Naya was married to from 2014-2018 — focused their attention on Naya and Ryan’s five-year-old son, Josey. In mid-September, Nickayla and Ryan were spotted seemingly holding hands in a Los Angeles Target and have been seen spending time together, leading to reports that the two are living together. Nickayla has since received a lot of hate online, but spoke her truth on her own Instagram account in a statement shared on September 28.
5) Nickayla told haters she’s “showing up” for her nephew. On September 28, Nickayla took to her Instagram Story and issued a thoughtful, emotional response too haters. “In the darkest time of my life, the only thing that is important is my friends and family,” she began her message. “Showing up for my nephew, even though I can’t show up for myself,” she continued. “Im [sic] not concerned with the way things look because no one can see each agonizing moment we all endure. What matters most I’ve learned is to show compassion, not to judge others, & never take a moment of life for granted. I hope you all can do the same.”