Step Up: High Water remembers Naya Rivera in the wake of her unexpected passing at the age of 33. Series ceator Holly Sorensen wrote about Rivera in a post for Deadline, calling her “a leader, a creative wunderkind, a pro and a badass.”

“Every show is of course a family, but there are many kinds of families. The Step Up family is, blessedly, the kind we all yearn for: loving, supportive, hilarious and committed–and this is in no small part because of the beautiful energy of Naya, making this loss unconscionable,” she wrote.

Sorensen said talking to Rivera about taking on the role of Collette Jones “was instantly like talking to a good girlfriend. Open, present and real.”

“[Rivera and Ne-Yo] managed to simultaneously guide and give advice to the rest of the cast on everything–the show, the craft, the career, and life,” she continued. “It was so generous of them, to both take their ego and position out of the equation, and still quietly lead in the most meaningful way. They didn’t need a position on a call sheet to get the love and respect of the cast and crew, they exuded love, grace, professionalism and care.”

“It is unimaginable that we, and her many deeply loyal and respectful fans…won’t see her as Collette and won’t see her work in the future, which I know would have been varied and brilliant,” she continued. “I think she would naturally have rolled into more leadership roles, entrepreneurship, philanthropy. But most painful is of course leaving behind her beloved Josey, an incredibly special child. We mourn for her whole family, they will remain in our prayers.”

The series, which aired its first two seasons on YouTube Premium, will return for its third season on Starz next year.


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Photo: Lionsgate TV