Inside Natalia Bryant's Life After The Tragic Death Of Her Father Kobe

Over a year after the world lost NBA legend Kobe Bryant in a tragic accident, his eldest daughter Natalia Bryant is opening up about her late father and how the family is coping from the loss.

The beloved athlete and his daughter Gianna Bryant were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 along with seven others while traveling to a basketball tournament. Fans around the world mourned the loss along with the Bryant family, lending their support for Bryant's wife Vanessa and three girls Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. "I love talking about my dad," Natalia told Teen Vogue in her first cover shoot. "It's bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it's sad for me."

The eldest Bryant daughter reminisced on one of her last moments in the car with her father, telling the outlet, "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." In her September cover interview, Natalia revealed how she's now embarking on adulthood after turning 18 in January 2021, admitting she doesn't see herself as "Kobe Bryant's daughter," but "just Nani," as her family calls her.

Natalia Bryant quit volleyball after the death of her father

Just one month after legally entering adulthood, Natalia Bryant revealed she had "always been interested in fashion since a very young age" as she signed a new deal with IMG models. "I have a love for the industry and ever since I can remember I wanted to model," said Bryant at the time (via People).

The eldest of the Bryant daughters opened up to Teen Vogue about her decision to go into modeling revealing her mom, Vanessa Bryant, was hesitant. "For my mom, it was really important for me to go through high school and get my education," said Natalia. "Especially complete college too." The 18-year-old is following her mother's wishes, attending the University of Southern California.

"I wanted to play volleyball in college," admitted the eldest Bryant daughter, who was first introduced to the sport at the 2012 London Olympics. "I played club volleyball with the intention of becoming a D1 athlete." She continued, "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."

Taking a break from volleyball allowed Bryant to focus on her new career and her family, especially her little sisters.

Natalia Bryant is keeping her father's memory alive for her sisters

In her first major photoshoot since signing with IMG models, Natalia Bryant sat down with Teen Vogue to reveal how she's stepping up to support her youngest sisters, Bianka and Capri, after the tragic death of their father, Kobe Bryant.

"I'm very loyal to the people that I love," said the eldest of the Bryant daughters. "Loyalty is an important value. Just ... understanding your loyalty. You're not just loyal for no reason." Natalia's loyalty stems from her tight-knit family, which has only grown closer since the accident that took the lives of her dad and sister. "You do the best that you can," said Bryant. "[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."

The model told the outlet she's "always been close" to her family and focused on her own goals (much like her legendary father) to the point of keeping from dating as a teenager. "I don't want to remember high school as dating some guy that I'm most likely going to be hating next [year]," adding, "No room for dating."

Natalia Bryant missed her father's Hall of Fame induction

While Natalia Bryant had no time for dating, she was sure to live life as a normal teenager and attend her high school prom. The eldest daughter of late legend Kobe Bryant received some flack for missing a major moment honoring her late father, Kobe Bryant.

As Vanessa Bryant stood with her youngest daughters, Bianka and Capri, to celebrate her late husband's induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Natalia was sent off by celebrity friends Ciara and Russell Wilson to her high school prom with her family's blessing.

"Natalia's experienced so much loss, I couldn't let her miss out on her once in a lifetime opportunity to go to her senior prom," wrote Vanessa in an Instagram post. "When we heard Natalia's prom night and Kobe's Hall of Fame night were on the same night, I looked at Natalia and said, 'well if it's any consolation, daddy kept me from going to my prom, so it's only right that he tried to keep you from going to yours," added Vanessa reminiscing on how the late NBA player asked her not to go to prom without him. "Of course we laughed because even in heaven, he's still trying to make moves and keep the boys away."