Vanessa Bryant on how Kobe, Gigi motivate her to push forward amid 'unimaginable' pain

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

Vanessa Bryant said she's focused on "finding light in the darkness" more than a year after her husband, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash.

Bryant is featured on the cover of PEOPLE magazine for its Women Changing the World issue in honor of Women's History Month. The issue is out on Friday and honors activists, innovators and role models who are making a difference.

It's believed to be Bryant's first extensive interview with an outlet since the crash. She has been active on social media platforms and has issued statements through public relations representatives. The front cover photograph is of her in a No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers letterman jacket.

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Vanessa Bryant: Kobe, Gigi motivate me to keep going

Bryant, 38, told PEOPLE she's working on moving forward for her three daughters: Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 20 months.

"This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward," she said in a teaser released Wednesday, via People. "Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do."

She said it would be wrong to say she's strong every day and that there aren't days she feels "like I can't survive to the next." While she works on "finding the light in the darkness," she thinks of Kobe and Gigi.

"I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she said. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways."

Her three daughters also give her strength and help her smile. She said she wants to make all five of them proud.

Vanessa carries on Kobe's work, legacy

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Bryant has carried on her late husband's legacy and post-retirement work since the accident. In February 2020, she renamed his Mamba Sports Foundation to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation to also honor Gianna, a budding basketball star herself who is known as Gigi. Almost exactly one year later, Bryant announced the hiring of Kat Conlan as the organization's first executive director.

Bryant took over Granity Studios, Kobe's multi-media company he started in retirement, and continued with the projects her husband had left.

She has been honest about the mourning period for her husband and daughter and has defended her family on social media, mainly Instagram.

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