Naya Rivera for Cosmo Latina - Scans + Transcription

On a chilly Los Angeles morning, Naya Rivera arrives at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf looking every inch the star in a black wool DVF coat over a camouflage point dress, Saint Laurent boots, and oversize Chanel sunglasses that never come off. Her thick black hair, which has been blown straight, cascades over her shoulders. What really turns heads, though, is her ginormous engagement ring, a cushion-cut sparkler, which looks like a six-carat stunner, surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds. In October, her boyfriend, rapper Sean Michael Anderson, a.k.a. “Big Sean,” proposed, and Rivera is still basking in the excitement of her news. “I think he’s going to be an amazing husband, and he’ll make a great father someday,” she gushes. “He’s so kind to people, but he also wears the pants in our relationship, which I love. We Latinas are very independent and strong, so it’s even sweeter that I’ve found somebody who can let me out of that role for a minute.”

The two met in the most modern of ways: on Twitter. Bored at work, Rivera decided to follow the rapper, whom she’d recently admired in a sexy GQ spread. Anderson, who was touring overseas at the time, was alerted to the nod by her million-plus followers, as well as his assistant, an avid Glee fan who also happens to be Puerto Rican. “She told him, ‘I’m Puerto Rican, she’s Puerto Rican; it sounds like you’d have so much fun with her,’” Rivera recalls. Anderson pulled up an episode of Glee to check Rivera out, liked what he saw, and sent her a private message. At first, Rivera was skeptical that he was the real thing: “Even though he had the verified check mark, I kept thinking, this could be a fan. I have to be careful what I say.”

For the rest of the week, Anderson kept changing his Twitter profile for Rivera’s benefit. “He would [suddenly] appear shirtless and I would think, this is so fun!” she recalls. When he asked for her phone number, she spent the next few days avoiding her Beverly Hills home, where she had no cellphone signal, so she wouldn’t miss his call. When they went out to dinner two weeks later, the date went better than Rivera could have dreamed. The two had “everything in common,” she says, from the fact that they were both born in Santa Monica Hospital, to having a number of mutual friends, to their mothers’ professions (actress and model). “He’s basically the boy version of me,” she laughs. That night, she called her mother and said, “I have no idea who this guy is, but I feel like I’ve known him forever.”

Months after they went public with their romance, Anderson took Rivera out to dinner, claiming en route that he’d forgotten his wallet and phone. They returned to his house, where he had a chef waiting to prepare a romantic dinner. “I didn’t think anything of it, because he had done that kind of thing before,” Rivera says. After they watched a movie, Anderson set out to drive her home since she had an early call time for Glee. He took a circuitous route, finally pulling up in front of Dominick’s, the Italian restaurant where they’d had their first date. There, at midnight, with “no one around,” he dropped to one knee on the sidewalk and proposed to a sobbing Rivera.

Perhaps preparing to be wifey, the actress spends her downtime in the Cape Cod-style home she shares with her fiance making her own floral arrangements, adding to her recipe binder, and hanging out with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lucy, revealing a deeply domestic side that she loves to indulge. “Latinas are really great nurturers who are great to our men; we love hard and we love to cook,” says Rivera. “The other morning I woke up and was like, ‘I need china- this table needs to be set all the time!’ Focusing on those things is where I’m at right now.”

Rivera and Anderson have busy careers, so they catch time together where they can. The night before her Cosmo for Latinas interview, Anderson followed Rivera around on her errands: He sat with her while she got her hair done and came to the studio to hear her sing on her pre-records for Glee. They finished their night on the couch with some wine and an episode of the original Twilight Zone.

But don’t write them off as an old married couple just yet: Rivera recently installed a stripper pole in her house and looked up “At Home Pole Tricks” on YouTube to learn how to use it. “I’m still sore!” she laughs. The most essential ingredient to a hot sex life is passion, says Rivera, joking, “We have sex in public. We have sex everywhere!” Then she winks and says, “I’m just messing with you.” A firm believer that “a lady should be a lady,” Rivera says, “You can’t get lazy- it takes work.” She has “tons” of nice lingerie and once asked a stripper how she kept her skin so soft. “She told me to use baby oil instead of lotion,” Rivera reveals, adding, “You always have to make an effort.”

Rivera is no stranger to that. The fiercely independent 27-year-old, who grew up in Valencia, Calif., with a younger sister and brother (today a runway model and a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, respectively), has been working since she was 4, when she became a series regular on The Royal Family. When she was 15, her dad lost his job as a music executive and the family fell on hard times, “I was very resourceful when it came to getting a job,” RIvera says. “I was the ultimate liar on a resume. At the tender age of 19, I said I had a bachelor’s degree; they never checked!” Though she always had to work- jobs she took in her teens include greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch, nanny, and telemarketer- she never believed in scarcity. “Even when I didn’t have much, I always acted as if I had everything I wanted,” she says. “When I read The Secret, I thought, I’ve been doing this the whole time!”

Clearly, Rivera knows how to manifest the things she desires. She first joined Glee as a recurring character; soon after, she became a series regular. In 2011, her character came out as a lesbian and ever since, she’s been racking up praise and awards. She’s got an album in the works, too, though, because it has been stymied by her label, Sony-Columbia, Rivera has stopped recording in order to put on her “business hat” and deal with the politics.

"Latin women are go-getters by nature," Rivera asserts. "We have a certain charm and finesse that gets us what we want." Her singular beauty doesn’t hurt, either: An interesting mix of Puerto Rican, German, and African-American, the actress has been blessed with olive skin, pillowy lips, and sparkling, almond-shaped eyes. Though she is proud of her Latina heritage, she is like many U.S. born Latinas, in that she has never been to the island and understands Spanish better than she speaks it. "It sucks because I have no one to talk to, but it’s something I need to learn when I have kids," she says. "They need to be fluent." At the mention of kids, I bring up a pregnancy rumor that is floating around and Rivera reveals her cheeky sense of humor: Her eyes widening dramatically, she points to her midsection and says, "Pregnant? If I was, would I have a six-pack like this?"

No wonder Rivera, who had her eye set on stardom from an early age, never bothered to come up with a backup plan. Smiling, she shows off a perfect set of white teeth, grabs her coffee cup  before heading off to the set of Glee, and says, “It was always Plan A or Plan A.”

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