The Stunning Transformation Of Kobe And Vanessa Bryant's Eldest Daughter Natalia

Natalia Bryant is no stranger to the spotlight. As the daughter of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, she's been a public figure since birth. But Bryant's relationship with fame changed significantly on January 26, 2020, when her father, Kobe, and little sister, Gigi, died in a tragic helicopter accident. That's when Natalia and her family were thrown into the center of a relentless media frenzy. At one point, the attention became too much for Bryant, and she temporarily set her Instagram account to private. "Thank you so much for all the love and support," she wrote in a now-expired Instagram story (via E! News). "Many of you may have noticed the recent switch to a private account. My mom and I have had to unfortunately block fan pages because they keep reposting our pics."

Bryant has experienced a lot of tragedy, but she's determined to keep moving forward. From her social media presence, she has clearly grown into a vibrant young woman with endless ambition, wisdom, and talent. In 2021, Bryant's mother, Vanessa Bryant, took to Instagram to share the news of Natalia's acceptance into the University of Southern California. "I'm SO happy for you Nani!" she wrote. "I know daddy is so PROUD OF YOU." It seems like just yesterday that Bryant was a tiny tot perched atop her dad's knee — but these days, she's busy navigating college, launching a modeling career, and being a dutiful big sister. Let's take a look back at her remarkable journey.

Natalia Bryant is the firstborn child of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant

NBA power couple Kobe and Vanessa Bryant became first-time parents on January 19, 2003, when they welcomed Natalia Diamanté Bryant into the world. Shortly after Natalia's arrival, Kobe took a moment to gush about his beautiful baby girl. "I'm excited to play basketball, but to be honest, I really didn't want to leave," the doting dad told AP Sports (via Midland Daily News). "I did not want to take my eyes off her and my wife." He added, "She looks just like Vanessa, thank God. She has a head full of hair just like her momma." 

Reflecting on her name, Natalia revealed that its origins are a bit of a mystery. "I have no idea why I'm named Natalia," she confessed to Teen Vogue. "My mom just picked out my name. Diamante in Spanish is diamond, and my nickname is Nani, which in Hawaiian means beautiful."

A day after Natalia's birth, Kobe returned to the basketball court — but he wore his hospital ID bracelet as a tribute to his newborn daughter. Natalia's only-child status expired in 2006 with the birth of her sister, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant. Her next sibling, Bianka Bryant, came along in 2016, followed by Capri Bryant in 2019. Nevertheless, Natalia shared a special bond with her parents. In a 2019 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Kobe Bryant described his eldest daughter as "the calm, responsible, thoughtful one." 

Her childhood was relatively normal

As the daughter of an NBA star, Natalia Bryant had an enviable childhood. Growing up, she fluttered between elite schools, luxurious vacations, and star-studded events with her parents. But beyond the perks of celebrityhood, the Bryants enjoyed a relatively normal family life. 

In 2018, Kobe Bryant spoke on his family's relatable (and totally wholesome) Christmas traditions. "Every year, we go and watch 'The Nutcracker.' Every single year," the all-star told Entertainment Tonight. Their other holiday rituals included building gingerbread houses and watching holiday classics like "Home Alone" and "Charlie Brown."

Speaking with Teen Vogue, Natalia revealed that she never felt stifled by her father's celebrity status. "Growing up, my parents made it as normal as possible. Thank God they did," she said. "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.'" And despite Kobe's status as a busy sports icon, he was a constant figure in his daughters' lives. "For me to make the trip up to Staples Center, that means I'm missing an opportunity to spend another night with my kids when I know how fast it goes," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2019. "I want to make sure the days that I'm away from them are days that I absolutely have to be. I'd rather be with them than doing anything else."

She was taught to be tenacious and creative

With a dad like Kobe Bryant, you might assume that Natalia Bryant's gene pool predetermined her destiny. Surely, she'd follow in her father's footsteps and become a famous athlete, right? Well, not in this case. Kobe and Vanessa Bryant encouraged their daughter to follow her passions and dreams throughout her childhood. Even when she was a toddler, they taught her to embrace her imagination. "My parents would ask me, 'Do you have a story?'" Bryant recalled to Town & Country. "And I'd say, 'Oh, okay! There was this princess ... '"

Growing up, she was introduced to movies that stirred her creativity even further. Years later, she went on to study film in college. To the casual observer, Bryant's interests may seem out of left field — but in reality, they were years in the making. "One may wonder why I developed such a fondness for movies like 'Star Wars,' 'Harry Potter,' the complete Marvel universe and 'Goonies,' amongst many others," Bryant said during a 2023 event honoring her dad (via ABC News). "Well, the reason behind it is that I watched all of these movies with my dad." 

In 2024, Vanessa Bryant praised her ambitious daughter in Town & Country. "Natalia has always been able to accomplish anything she sets her mind to," she said. "Whether she's at home with us, with her friends, at work, or at school, Natalia always stays present and passionate in the face of any challenge."

Natalia Bryant grew up playing sports

Natalia Bryant is incredibly athletic, but her sports journey played out differently than you might expect. No, she didn't grow up to become a basketball star — instead, the young celeb developed a passion for volleyball. Bryant became enamored with the sport while watching a match at the London Olympics in 2012. As she recalled to Teen Vogue, she craved the competitiveness of the sport — plus, it allowed her to make good use of her tall stature. Bryant played for her high school's varsity team and planned to go even further. "I wanted to play volleyball in college," she revealed. "I played club volleyball with the intention of becoming a D1 athlete." 

The deaths of her father and sister in 2020 prompted Bryant to reassess many aspects of her life, including her future as a volleyball player. Ultimately, the star decided that her heart wasn't in it anymore. "I quit volleyball after the accident because I was so ... a lot was going on at that time," she confessed." I knew I didn't ... love volleyball as much as they love basketball. I'm okay with that." 

Despite giving up her college volleyball dreams, Bryant hasn't lost interest in sports. Nowadays, she's embracing amateur skiing. "It's so relaxing," she told Teen Vogue, adding, "You get space ... you get to clear your mind, and you don't think about anything. You think about what you're doing in the moment. It's about being present."

She was devastated by the deaths of Kobe and Gigi Bryant

On January 26, 2020, the Bryant family suffered a devastating tragedy when Kobe and Gigi Bryant, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Their deaths sent shockwaves through the sports world and beyond. In the following days, murals and memorial tributes to Kobe and Gigi sprang up across Los Angeles as the world grieved. 

A few days after the accident, Vanessa Bryant spoke on her family's behalf. In a heartbreaking Instagram post, she paid tribute to her "adoring husband" and her "wonderful daughter." The grieving mother wrote: "There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now."

In January 2021, Natalia Bryant took to social media to discuss the truth about her life after Kobe Bryant's death. When a follower asked if she was hiding her grief behind a brave face, the young star shared a heartfelt response. "I thought I was not going to answer you, but I thought it would be important to share it in case someone here is dealing with their own problems," she wrote in a now-expired Instagram story (via Hola!). "I sincerely believe that the most important thing is to surround yourself with a small circle of people you trust and to be able to express your feelings with them, when you are sad or not feeling well." Bryant added, "This is also a lot easier said than done but just know that you are never alone."

Natalia Bryant is a fashion model

With her mom's gorgeous features and her father's ravishing smile, it's no wonder Natalia Bryant grew up to be stunningly beautiful. And thanks to her lifelong interest in fashion, she has become quite the style icon. In 2021, the vogue queen signed on with IMG Models. 

Vanessa Bryant, who once wanted to be a makeup artist, was totally on board with Natalia's modeling ambitions — but there was one stipulation. "For my mom, it was really important for me to go through high school and get my education. Especially complete college too," the model told Teen Vogue. Bryant agreed to make school a priority while pursuing modeling. "I think it's fun to have my foot in both worlds," she told Town & Country. Since launching her modeling career, Bryant has posed for big shot brands like UGG, Versace, and Victoria's Secret Pink. 

In 2024, Bryant made her runway debut when she was featured in Versace's Spring 2024 show at Milan Fashion Week. The young celeb graced the catwalk in a showstopping black dress with angular shoulders, paired with metallic flats and a chic handbag. Ahead of the show, Bryant expressed gratitude for the "incredible opportunity." "I wanted to start fresh and do my own thing without having to worry about comparing myself to anyone or setting myself to anyone's standard," she told Vogue. "Thankfully, I've only had positive experiences and I've been so happy to see how supportive and welcoming everyone has been."

She studies film at the University of Southern California

Like many young adults, Natalia Bryant is eager to make her mark on the world. In 2021, the young celeb took a major leap toward her future when she became a college student. Bryant enrolled at the University of Southern California, where she chose to pursue a filmmaking degree. In 2022, Bryant gushed to Entertainment Tonight about her college experience. "I'm loving everything," she said. "I feel like this whole year flew by so fast. It was everything I expected and honestly more. It was just everything, so I'm so happy to be with everybody that I like. I've just loved everyone that I've met."

Clearly, Bryant is finding her stride at college — and she's also enjoying the ride with the star-studded posse she's found. In 2022, "Euphoria" actor Storm Reid revealed that she and Bryant were roommates while attending USC together. In an adorable Instagram post, Reid shared glimpses of their campus adventures and called Bryant "the most beautiful spirit in the world."

Still, Bryant has admitted that college can be stressful — especially when she factors in her bustling modeling career. Despite the demands of her busy lifestyle, she seems to have discovered the secret to making it all work. "I love having an open mind," she told People. "In regards to having a full-time school schedule and also balancing modeling, I do think that you need to just embrace whatever the future has in store."

Natalia Bryant is a dedicated big sister

Even though Natalia Bryant is incredibly busy with school and modeling, she always has time to dote on her little sister. Bryant adores her little siblings, Bianka and Capri. The youngest Bryants were born in 2016 and 2019, respectively — so there's a significant age gap between Bryant and her sisters. That said, Bryant is devoted to being a role model for the little ones. On her Instagram account, she proudly displays her heartwarming relationship with Bianka and Capri. Between dressing in matching outfits and painting their faces for Halloween, it's clear that Bryant and her little sisters are the ultimate BFFs.

Just like their big sister, the youngsters are taking an interest in fashion. "My sisters are such fashionistas, especially my little sister Bianka, who's 7," Bryant gushed to People in 2021. "She is such a strong personality and she knows what she wants. She wakes up, she knows what she wants to wear, she knows how to style, she'll know how to style me." Bryant added: "It's so awesome to be able to see fashion and see life through their eyes."

Of course, Bryant's late sister Gigi is never far from her heart. And in 2022, she paid tribute to her on what would have been her 16th birthday. On Instagram, Bryant posted a heartwarming photo dedicated to her little sister, along with the caption: "happy sweet sixteen my dearest gigi. I love you to the moon and back. forever & always."

She has an unshakable bond with her mother, Vanessa Bryant

In May 2021, Natalia Bryant and her mother, Vanessa Bryant, starred in a short film for luxury brand Bulgari. To commemorate Mother's Day, the pair sat down with Bulgari and the film's producer, Vogue, to discuss their precious bond. The mother-daughter duo was pure elegance in dual black dresses, and they sparkled in pieces from Bulgari's jewelry line. "My mom, she's really the strongest person I've ever known," Natalia said (via Vogue). Vanessa's response made it clear that the admiration was mutual. "You're such an amazing — not only just an amazing daughter, but an amazing friend," she told her daughter. "You're like the constant North Star to all your friends. No matter what, you're always there, and they can always rely on you and count on you."

After enduring the losses of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, it's evident that Natalia and Vanessa can depend on each other in times of despair. In 2020, Vanessa sued Los Angeles County after learning that several sheriff's deputies had reportedly taken and shared photos of the wreckage of her husband's helicopter crash. Due to their callous actions, Bryant was forced to relive the tragedy — but she didn't go through it alone. Natalia attended the trial and faithfully supported her mom. In 2023, the Bryant family received a $28.8 million settlement in the case.

She worked as an intern on Beyonce's Renaissance World Tour

As if being a successful student and a burgeoning model weren't impressive enough, Natalia Bryant took on yet another venture in 2023. This time, she worked as an intern on Beyoncé's Renaissance World Tour under the singer's production company, Parkwood Entertainment. Although Bryant hasn't shared specifics about her intern position, she did open up about the gig to Town & Country. "It was such an amazing experience," Bryant raved. 

When Bryant landed the internship, her mom was there to cheer her on — and to help her brush up on Beyoncé's musical catalog. To prepare her for the internship, Vanessa Bryant played her snippets from Bey's former girl group, Destiny's Child, to see if she could recall the names of the songs. "I'm horrible with lyrics. Like, horrible," she declared. "She'll play the song, and it's a throwback, and I'm like, 'Mom, I swear I know this song! I swear I'm cultured!'"

Natalia Bryant may have scored the internship with some help from Beyoncé herself. After all, the R&B diva and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, are dear friends of the Bryant family. Beyoncé was even chosen to sing at Kobe Bryant's memorial service, where she famously changed the lyrics to her songs "XO" and "Halo" in honor of the basketball legend. The pop icon appears to have a close relationship with Natalia; in fact, Natalia has referred to her as "Auntie BB" on social media.

Natalia Bryant celebrated a milestone in 2024

Natalia Bryant turned 21 on January 19, 2024. To ring in the milestone, the junior celeb threw a grandiose party with family and friends. Bryant rocked the event in a cherry red minidress adorned with two large, sparkly hearts. For an elegant touch, the fashion model styled her hair into a sleek, shoulder length bob. Partygoers kicked off the evening by gathering with the birthday girl around a pink heart-shaped cake. The festivities also featured a photo booth, where Bryant captured priceless moments with her loved ones. Bryant's star-studded guest list included Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Winnie Harlow, and numerous others.

In honor of the momentous occasion, Vanessa Bryant shared a heartfelt tribute to her daughter on Instagram. "Happy birthday 21st birthday @nataliabryant!!! We love you so much!!!!" she captioned the post. "You are what every parent hopes and prays for. You are such a beautiful, strong, smart, loving young woman with the kindest soul and I am so proud to be your mommy!" Bryant also received birthday wishes from other celebs, including Aoki Lee Simmons, Michael B. Jordan, and Lily Aldridge. 

She honors her father often

These days, Natalia Bryant is making a name for herself as a fashion model and an up-and-coming filmmaker — but it goes without saying that she will always be associated with her famous father, Kobe Bryant. Although she's looking toward the future, Bryant is intent on preserving Kobe's memory. "I love talking about my dad," she told Teen Vogue in 2021. "It's bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it's sad for me."

In 2023, Bryant celebrated the addition of her father's handprints and footprints to the TCL Chinese Theatre's famous Forecourt of the Stars in Hollywood."Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I hope to continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me," Bryant said while speaking at the event (via People). 

Thanks to her father's enduring legacy, Bryant can easily access his wisdom. All she has to do is refer to the Mamba mentality, a philosophy that Kobe cultivated through his legendary NBA career and his charitable work. "Mamba mentality is about constantly trying to be the best version of yourself," Bryant explained to Elle in 2023. "It's putting your best foot forward at all times regardless of all the noise. I want to make sure that mentality stays intact, because it can be so easy to give up on yourself when things get tough. You have to remind yourself that with positivity and resilience you can do anything."