Chris Colfer Remembers Naya Rivera as a 'Shining Example' in Moving Tribute

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Chris Colfer is remembering the late Naya Rivera. In a moving tribute for Variety, the 30-year-old actor writes about the "nightmare" of his Glee co-star's death, which happened after she went missing during a boating outing with her 4-year-old son, Josey, who was found safe on the boat. She was 33.

"I find myself wondering if Naya was even real or if she was just a dream all along. How could a human being be that talented, that hilarious and that beautiful at once?" Colfer asks. "How could one person be responsible for so much joy and be the subject of so many wonderful memories?"

Next, Colfer turns to Rivera's singing skills, writing, "When Naya sang, you could feel her soul resonating through your own."

"Her voice would break your heart in one chorus, only to rebuild it in the next. Watching her perform was like watching magic unfold before your eyes," he writes. "Naya didn’t just sing a song. She brought it to life. And with every note, she exposed the old sage living inside her young body."

Her acting abilities come next, with Colfer writing that Rivera "could tell a whole story with one expression."

"It didn’t matter how outrageous the plot was, she spoke with so much authenticity, she made you believe every word she said, and often, you’d forget she was acting at all," he continues. "Her heroic and groundbreaking portrayal of Santana Lopez on Glee inspired millions of young people around the world, especially in the LGBTQIA community, and it will be treasured for generations to come."

It wasn't just her fans that Rivera inspired, but her fellow actors as well, thanks in large part to her "superhuman ability to memorize scripts."

"Sometimes, I’d become so lost in Naya’s performance, I’d forget I was in the scene with her," Colfer admits. "Even when her character was tearing mine to shreds, I couldn’t help but respect how brilliantly she delivered the insults."

Personally, Colfer remembers Rivera as "one of the funniest and most quotable people" that he's ever met. 

"Naya could defuse a bomb with a witty remark. Her comebacks and quips were legendary, and I used to follow her around set, jotting down everything she said into my phone," he recalls. "... Even after an 18-hour day of singing and dancing, when mustering a smile felt impossible, Naya could make you laugh out loud."

While her humor was prevalent, so too was her ability to listen to her friends and offer her advice.

"You could talk to her about anything. She was the cool older sister you went to for advice, to blow off steam, or to get the hottest take on the latest gossip," Colfer writes. "Just being in Naya’s presence made you feel protected and regardless of the situation, you knew she’d have your back."

Above all, Colfer remembers Rivera as a mom, which, he writes, was "the thing she wanted most in life."

"When her son Josey was born in 2015, it was like a missing piece of Naya had finally arrived. Their connection was magnetic, their affection was radiant and I’ve never seen a person look happier than when Naya gushed over her little boy," Colfer reflects. "Being a mom was perhaps Naya’s greatest talent of all, and as her final moments proved, Naya was an extraordinary mother until the very end."

Colfer concludes his tribute by writing that "Naya leaves behind a void that only Naya herself could fill."

"To have a friend like her, even briefly, is to be blessed beyond belief. She is a shining example of the impact a person can have when one lives fearlessly," he writes. "Her loss is a tragic reminder to celebrate every moment we possibly can with the people we love because the only thing we know for certain about life is how fragile it can be."

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