La La Anthony/Instagram Vanessa Bryant and La La Anthony
La La Anthony is grateful for her close circle of friends amid a year of crazy and ups and downs — but there is one special person she talks to "every day."
The actress and TV personality tells PEOPLE in a new interview that she has daily check-ins with her longtime friend, Vanessa Bryant, and details how she is keeping in touch with other close confidants during the pandemic.
"I talk to [Vanessa] every day," Anthony, 39, says of Bryant — whose daughter, Gianna, died in the Calabasas helicopter crash in January alongside dad Kobe Bryant. "I talk to her every single day. And I just always say, 'Continue to send her great energy and pray for her.' That's important and just trying to be a great friend. But when you're friends with somebody, you don't have to try, you just do."
Anthony, who shares 13-year-old son Kiyan with Carmelo Anthony, has said she's known as "Auntie La La" to Bryant's daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka Bella, 3½, and 16-month-old Capri Kobe, and called her closest friends — including stars like Ciara — her "family."
"Good friends are hard to find. So when you find them, you hang on to them no matter what. So it's great that during this time we've been able to stay connected and I only have one child, but our kids have been able to stay connected," says Anthony, who recently partnered with SIMPLE Moblie — which is helping all of those separated amid the holiday season stay connected with their $50 unlimited plan.
"During this time, you really realize what's important. Then you start weeding out the things that you've spent so much time stressing over that you're like, 'This doesn't even matter right now.' So it's been great to have just cool girlfriends to talk to and laugh with. Some days you might want to cry because of the state of the world. It's been great to have people in my life that I know I can call and rely on no matter what," she says.
La La Anthony
And in the theme of keeping in touch with family and friends over Thanksgiving, Anthony — who recently launched her Facebook Watch series, La La Anthony: Reclaim Your Life — reveals that she is hosting a virtual Friendsgiving event and giving one lucky fan the opportunity to have the Power star at their own holiday gathering with the help of SIMPLE Mobile.
"On Instagram, we're going to give one follower a chance for me to crash their virtual Friendsgiving," she says. "I think it'll be really cool to just see what other people do during this time — and how people are really getting creative."
Talking about how her own family has embraced virtual sessions, Anthony says: "Recently we had a '70s theme birthday party for my niece and we were all on FaceTime and everyone had their '70s gear and played music and we danced."
"And at first, I was like, 'How is this even going to work?' But it ended up being one of the most fun things that I've ever been a part of. I'm excited to see how people use this time to still stay connected and have fun with each other and that's why I'm excited about my SIMPLE Mobile partnership."
Ciara/instagram (from left to right) Ciara, Natalia Bryant and La La Anthony
And while her character on Showtime's The Chi is a chef, the actress says she is "actually the worst cook in real life," but will plan on making her "one dish" for her virtual holiday dinner party.
"The Chi actually got me interested in cooking because I had to learn at least the basics while I was on the show. You had to look like you knew how to cook. And we had chefs there that would tell me like, 'That is not how you hold the knife, La La. You have to hold it like this when you're cutting it.' They're like, 'You're about to cut your finger off. You have to do it like this,' " she explains. "I did learn little things and became a little bit more interested in the cooking space. So I'm not saying that I'm cheffing it up here, but I'm trying to get better at cooking a little bit."
But she hasn't come around to the cleaning up afterward, just yet.
"The thing is ... when it comes time to the clean-up, it makes me feel like I shouldn't have even attempted this," she laughs.