Kobe Bryant was a girl dad through and through. That left a strong impression on his eldest daughter Natalia Bryant.
Natalia, 18, recently signed with IMG Models and appears on the Sept. 2021 cover of Teen Vogue. Natalia recently started attending the University of Southern California to study film and shared how she and her late father bonded over movies.
“He was just like the best girl dad ever. He was just letting me play my playlist and jam out to Taylor Swift the whole ride back, and talk about Star Wars too. It was so much fun,” she says. “I love talking about my dad. It’s bittersweet but I enjoy talking about him more than it’s sad for me.”
Natalia is joined by her mother Vanessa Bryant and her younger sisters — Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2 — during the interview. The film student credits both her parents for keeping her head straight.
“Growing up, my parents made it as normal as possible. Thank God they did,” Natalia explains. “It’s not, ‘Oh she’s Natalia Bryant, she’s Kobe Bryant’s daughter.’ A lot of times they saw me as ‘She’s just Nani.’”
Natalia had goals of being a collegiate volleyball athlete but stepped away from the sport in the aftermath of the tragic 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
“I quit volleyball after the accident because I was so… a lot was going on at that time. I knew I didn’t… love volleyball as much as they love basketball. I’m okay with that,” she admits. “I just wanted to take a break from it.
“You do the best that you can,” she says of her father and sister’s passing. “[For] my little sisters [we’re] trying to keep that memory for them. And also just trying to remember to live out every day the way they would.”