The next morning, Naya arrives in her white Range Rover at the West Hollywood photo studio, right on time for her cover shoot. After a couple of hours in hair and makeup, she tiptoes out of her dressing room looking like she hopped out of a 1960s Lucky Strike ad. Sipping on a glass of rosé through a pink straw, she waits for her cue. Her legs are thin and toned, like a Rodeo Drive mannequin. Her abs look like they’re straight out of a Pilates video. The crew around her whispers in awe.
I knew songs like ‘Ass’ because it was huge, but I never knew what [Big Sean] looked like. If I ran into him, I wouldn’t have known who he was.
Midway through the shoot, Big Sean shows up, dressed in an oversize camo jacket, dark jeans, and black adidas sneakers. As soon as the photographer calls for a break, Naya saunters over and engulfs him in a lingering hug. They don’t care who’s watching.
Naya first became aware of Sean through his music. “I knew songs like ‘Ass’ because it was huge, but I never knew what he looked like. If I ran into him, I wouldn’t have known who he was,” she says. “I was with my brother at his senior game in Tennessee and we were in his car going to get dinner. He played ‘Mula’ from Sean’s mixtape and I was like, ‘What is this song? Who is this?’ And he was like, ‘This is Big Sean.’ I said, ‘This is awesome, where do I get this?’” Before long she was hitting up Dat Piff for the first time. “It took me forever to get the music from my computer to my phone,” she recalls. She plays coy about how they actually hooked up though. “I ended up randomly meeting him. I told him that story the other day and we were still cracking up.”
Asked if Sean’s still as sensitive as the man who broke down in tears during his first major show in Detroit, Naya says: “He’s a sweetheart, but he’s not a little bitch.” She admits, though, that he “cried super hard” while watching Santana’s coming-out episode of Glee.
The pair has been together for a few months now. They make ample time for each other despite their hectic schedules. “With anything that you want, you’ll work at it and make the time for it,” she says. Together, they can be spotted everywhere from the Hollywood red carpet to the Hawaiian coast.
“She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Sean says in almost a whisper, as she steps back in front of the camera. “She’s one of those people that you can connect to, and I think she’s going to be a superstar.”
He may be onto something. Whoever comes across Naya in person or on screen either wants to be her or be with her. She’s the kind of person you want to know more about, and she’ll gladly tell you. “I feel like I’m a pretty open person and I’m never purposely not going to share things because I don’t have anything to hide,” she says. “If I feel like shouting from the rooftops, then I’ll do it.” Here’s hoping she never loses her balance.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Taylor Jacobson. (PROP STYLING) Lisa Bazadona. (HAIR) Clyde Haygood. (MAKEUP) Jo Baker. (MANICURIST) Karen Gutierrez. (CLOTHING) OPENING SPREAD: Tuxedo by Giorgio Armani / Shirt by Dolce & Gabbana / Necklace by Simon G / Right hand rings by ForeverMark and Neil Lane / Left hand rings by Effy Jewelry, Le Vian, and ForeverMark. FOLLOWING SPREAD: Bra by Dolce & Gabbana. PREVIOUS SPREAD: Bra and panties by Dolce & Gabbana / Pants by Pinup Couture / Shoes by Saint Laurent / Earrings by Neil Lane. THIS SPREAD: Halter top and pants by Emilio Pucci / Necklace and earrings by Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz / Left hand bracelet by Ben-Amun by Isaac Menevitz / Left hand rings by Neil Lane and ForeverMark / Right hand bracelets by Charriol and Jacob & Co.
WATCH NAYA RIVERA'S BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIDEO HERE: