Diana Maria Riva describes herself as having “an American mind with Latin soul,” a definition that perhaps inspires the fiery passion with which she performs. In an impressive eighteen year career, Riva has established herself as a dominant force in television, film, and theater. Currently, she stars alongside Eva Longoria in NBC’s half-hour mid-season comedy Telenovela.
She plays “Mimi,” the stylist and best friend to Longoria’s character. On the big screen, she most recently starred in Disney’s McFarland, with Kevin Costner and Maria Bello and Love and Mercy with Elizabeth Banks and John Cusack. Riva also had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed Short Term 12.
In 2010, she starred opposite America Ferrera in Fox Searchlight’s Family Wedding. The film also starred Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker. Other notable film credits include 17 Again, What Women Want, Employee of the Month, Chasing Papi and The Third Wheel, among others.
On the television side, Riva was most recently seen in FX’s Saint George with comedian George Lopez. She simultaneously reoccured in FX’s The Bridge, starring Diane Kruger, playing the role of “Kitty Conchas.” In the 2010 Fox dramedy The Good Guys with Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, she played the duo’s boss, “Lt. Anna Ruiz.”
Riva received rave reviews in the original Lifetime drama series Side Order of Life, where she played “Vivy Porter”, a feisty outspoken woman who refuses to allow her diagnosis of cancer get the best of her. The Hollywood Reporter singled her out in a Spotlight piece as a front runner leading up to the Golden Globe nominations.
Riva was first discovered by ABC Studios. They quickly signed her to a holding deal and placed her as a series regular in their half-hour comedy Common Law. Though the show was short-lived, Diana parlayed her experience into an impressive small screen resume.
She starred as Kim Delaney’s colorful and confident office manager on the ABC/Steven Bochco series Philly. She also co-starred on the long-running hit sitcom Sabrina, The Teenage Witch as “Annie,” Sabrina’s boss at Heat Magazine. Prior to her dynamic role on Philly, Diana had already made quite a name for herself as part of the Bochco family—having appeared in recurring roles on City of Angels and NYPD Blue, as well as doing guest-star work on Murder One. She also recurred on such prominent series as Everybody Loves Raymond, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Less Than Perfect, The Hughleys, and Family Law as well as The Drew Carey Show, Strong Medicine, The X-Files, The Pretender, Party of Five, The Ghost Whisperer, and In Plain Sight.
Diana was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio with her native roots going back to the Dominican Republic. Her upbringing, surrounded by strong Latin women, encouraged her to be independent and to follow her heart wherever it led her. It in fact led her to an MFA in Theater Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and a life devoted to entertainment. While appearing in the Michael Weller play HELP!, she had the opportunity to travel with the show to Los Angeles. There, Diana was promptly discovered by an agent and received the prestigious development deal from ABC, based solely on her theatrical performance. Even after landing her first television lead on Common Law, she continued to devote time to her love of the stage by performing her one-woman show Besame Mucho….Ok That’s Enough, a semi-autobiographical work about the perspectives of five women on the journey of love, marriage and divorce in the Latino culture.
While not hard at work on her new series, Diana dedicates her time to her family. She is enthusiastic about instilling the traditions of her upbringing in her children. She and her children currently reside in Los Angeles.
You can follow Diana on Twitter: DianaMariaRiva