Naya Marie Rivera was born in Valencia, California, on January 12, 1987. At the time, Valencia was one of four unincorporated communities that would be merged to form the city of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County, in December 1987. Rivera was raised in Valencia and lived in or around Los Angeles for most of her life. She was of African American, German, and Puerto Rican descent. [b] When the term "Afro-Latinx" became widespread in the 2010s she was often identified as such. Her parents are Yolanda Previtire (née White), a former model, and George Rivera, who worked various IT jobs, including positions at Disney and the Universal Music Publishing Group. George and Yolanda had married in 1986 but divorced in 1996, and Yolanda married Charles Previtire in 1999; Rivera was close with her stepfather, but did not really know her grandparents. She did not grow up speaking Spanish at home, but understood it and later learned to speak it. She was the oldest of three children: her younger brother is former NFL tight end Mychal Rivera (b. 1990), and her younger sister is runway model Nickayla Rivera (b. 1994). Rivera said that she was named after the water goddess Nyah featured in the television show Fantasy Island, after her mother heard the name and liked it, owning a pet parrot with the name Naya before Rivera was born. During the time her parents were married, the family's income would fluctuate dramatically, sometimes living lavishly and other times struggling. The family often went boating when Rivera was young, which she enjoyed though she did not like to get her hair wet, adding that they had a scary experience on one occasion when their anchor got stuck and her father injured himself on the propeller trying to free the boat. She still enjoyed boating as an adult and took many trips to Lake Piru near her home, which she considered a "sanctuary".