And that, beyond the way she inspired teens who may have otherwise fallen through the cracks, beyond the performances that she leaves behind, may just be her greatest legacy.
She was just eight months into the parenting game, when she reflected on the life lessons she’d already absorbed, detailing “these ‘aha’ moments about motherhood” she was constantly experiencing in a chat with Fit Pregnancy and Baby. “You’re always going to wonder if you’re doing things wrong, but that’s what it means to be a mom,” she asserted, “to care so much about someone else that you just want to be as perfect as possible.”
It’s a goal those close to her say she fully accomplished. “Naya and Josey were incredibly close and had a very tight bond,” said the Rivera insider, the actress never hesitating to clear her schedule to, say, hunt for caterpillars with her little man.
“I just really make sure that I make time and stay organized so that I can, once I pick him up from school, the rest of the day is ours,” she explained to E! News in 2019. Whatever work needed to be done, could simply be put on hold: “Being a mom is always my first priority so everything else can sort of wait. Nothing’s more important than that.”
—Additional reporting by Amanda Williams
(Originally published July 14, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT)