Naya Rivera’s Sister Nickayla on How She Got Out of a ‘Dark Place’ After the Glee Star’s Death –


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Glee actress Naya Rivera died in July 2020 as a result of a drowning accident 

Naya Rivera's sister Nickayla is opening up about how she coped with the Glee star's death in July 2020.

On Monday, two days before what would have been Naya's 35th birthday, Nickayla posted a YouTube video sharing the details of her upbringing, modeling career and the impact of Naya's passing on her life. 

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"In July of 2020, my sister Naya passed away. And when that happened, I was in complete shock," she said. "My whole family was in complete shock. It was like someone pulled the rug from under us and we didn't see it coming. The dark place that I was in before only progressed when that happened. At that time, I had no thoughts of my future. I had no thoughts of myself really. I was only just experiencing pain."

Nickayala, 28, continued, "I realized that the pain that I was experiencing wasn't going to go anywhere until I decided to find the good in this world. So, from then on, I went on this journey of discovering who I was." 

Naya Rivera, Nickaya Rivera

Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty; Nickayla Rivera/Youtube

She went on to say that she first quit vaping after having picked up the habit two years prior. "That was really hard. But when I did, I felt so empowered," she said. 

"I felt like I could do anything after that," Nickayla said. "I picked up journaling and started writing about my feelings. I started therapy. I said no to doing a lot of things that I didn't want to do, but normally would for other people. I started putting myself first. I became mindful and observed how I felt each day."

The model noted that Naya's death prompted her to appreciate each day and each moment.  

"I started asking myself the tough questions of, what's stopping me from being myself? What past hurt am I still holding onto? And why am I not living like every day is a gift? Because it is," she said. 

Naya died in July 2020 at age 33 as a result of a drowning accident after she and son Josey, now 6, rented a boat at Lake Piru in Southern California. When the actress didn't return the boat on time, staff found it on the north side of the lake with Josey sleeping in his life jacket on board, but no sign of Naya.

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Following the news of her death, Nickayla paid tribute to her older sister on Instagram, writing, "There are no words to describe my love for you. Side by side or miles apart, our connection is infinite. Our bond is unbreakable. We were complete opposites, yet simultaneously the same. The yin to my yang. I never knew that by losing you, I would find so much of you in myself."⁣

"I've never known a life without you in it & still can't imagine it," she continued. "My world is turned upside down. But through it all, everything we were, we are still. I'll always look at you with the same eyes as I did when I was young.⁣"

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