By Megan Evans
It all seemed so surreal when the Glee community lost a much beloved actor, Cory Monteith, back in 2013. His struggle with alcoholism and induced heroin use caused him to overdose in a hotel room, and we watched as Lea Michele crumbled under the spotlight whilst reporters struggled to give her the space she deserved to grieve this horrible death.
It became an almighty shock when the news broke out more recently that the Glee actress Naya Rivera was missing. More so, it was a shock that her cause of death was deemed to be from drowning after she had gone on a boat trip with her son to Lake Piru. The medical examiner reported from the autopsy that the condition of the body was that of drowning when she was submerged, due to no traumatic injuries or disease processes identified and no dramatic signs of drugs or alcohol.
Despite these claims, it is still disturbing to see the mirroring images of two bright stars, passing away near the same time just years apart, due to freak accidents. There have already been many conspiracy theories circulating the web. Twitter was initially bombarded with people using the hashtags ‘#FindNaya’, and ‘#PrayForNaya’, in order to try and trace the whereabouts of this beloved actress - especially as she had been out on the lake with her son before she disappeared. They have also coined the term ‘Glee curse’, by compiling a list of all the strange things that have happened to cast members, as Mark Salling also died by suicide in 2018.
Rivera's family members released a statement, embodying the warmth and outpour of emotion felt by many, after losing such an amazingly talented member of their family, and spoke about how they will "forever continue to honour her everlasting legacy and spirit".
Fans have already made eerie connections to Eminem’s tune ‘97 Bonnie and Clyde’, as it has a similar storyline portraying death in a lake. Some, however, are taking this so far to the extreme; TV personality Katie Hopkins, known for her out of touch and outspoken thought process, suggested on Instagram that the mother of one may have found lockdown "too much". She says she "doesn’t believe Naya Rivera drowned", even though the police never found any indication of foul play or an indication of suicide, so it is clear that these conspiracies have been taken too far.
Former co-stars have paid their tributes to the actress. Her first love, Tahj Mowry, shared a heartfelt message claiming that they shared so many firsts together, "from love to heartbreak". The creators of Glee have also released a statement to say that they are creating a college fund for her son. They spoke about how she will be remembered as an immensely talented performer and actress, but also as an amazing friend. She really engaged with her on-screen characterisation as an openly lesbian woman, and expressed this with strength as well as dignity.
The boat company who attempted to search for Rivera discovered her son asleep adrift on-board, and it was suggested that if Rivera had worn a life jacket it would’ve increased her chances of survival dramatically. The lake had also reported no casualties since 2010, so this makes it clear that the public misunderstood this horrific event. Her son told the investigators that his mother had helped him onto the boat before disappearing under the water.
This event has proven so much to the everyday world of glitz and glam. We should appreciate every moment we have with our friends and family, be kind to one another, and always pursue what you love to do with assertion and confidence. And as we say goodbye to another inspiring actress, we can reconcile with the memories that have been created not only from the show, but through close friends and family, and other co-stars, and we must not take what is written in the media too seriously.