Happy birthday, Gianna Bryant. Vanessa Bryant penned a heartfelt tribute to her late daughter, on what would have been her "quinceañera." Posting a sweet photo of the two hugging on her Instagram on Saturday, Vanessa wrote how much she wished her daughter was with her.
"Dear Gianna, Happy 15th Birthday! ❤️😘I love you! I miss you everyday! I wish you were here with us. There are no words to express how much I miss you. I love you Mamacita! ❤️ #15 #Quincenera #Mambacita #Principessa," Vanessa wrote to her daughter, who died alongside dad Kobe Bryant and seven others in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
To commemorate Gianna's birthday, Vanessa, who is also mother to Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and almost-2-year-old Capri, launched a clothing collection in honor of her "mambacita." The proceeds from the apparel will benefit Kobe's Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps create positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports.
"When I thought about how best to celebrate Gianna’s birthday with so many who loved her, I knew it had to be a combination of sharing her bright and fun personality with her sense of purpose and passion that would help make a difference in this world," Vanessa wrote alongside a family photo of herself and her girls wearing the collection. "Gianna was kind, energetic, a leader, and had so much MAMBACITA swag."
She added that the limited-edition MAMBACITA x DANNIJO tie-dye sweat set capsule collection, "celebrates Gigi’s spirit in every little detail – even the placement of #PlayGigisWay on the right arm of each hoodie-- her shooting arm 🏀."
Vanessa added that her little Gigi was "especially motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports, and it’s fitting that this capsule represents her values." She also noted how much their family "deeply appreciates the way the world continues to celebrate our sweet girl, and we look forward to paying it forward to future Lil MAMBACITAS and Lady Mambas through the work of our Foundation."
In March, Vanessa opened up about the "unimaginable" pain of her husband and daughter's deaths.
"This pain is unimaginable, [but] you just have to get up and push forward. Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again," Vanessa told People. "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 added, "My girls help me [keep] smiling through the pain. They give me strength. I want to make Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka and Capri proud."
And while her daughters give her strength, Vanessa said that she still has very hard days. "I can't say that I'm strong every day. I can't say that there aren't days when I feel like I can't survive to the next."
For more on the Bryant family, see below.