Jazmin Grace Grimaldi says she felt a 'connection' to famous grandma Grace Kelly

By Maria Coder
Updated July 22, 2015 08:00 AM
Credit: Harper's Bazaar

In her first interview, Prince Albert of Monaco‘s American daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, opens up about her grandmother, Grace Kelly, and building a “great relationship” with her father, whom she didn’t get to meet until she was 11.

“This is my first interview, my first time going public,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in their August issue. Michael Avedon, whose late grandfather, Richard Avedon, famously photographed Jazmin’s late grandmother Grace Kelly, captured Grimaldi for the new piece.

Grimaldi has lived most of her life outside the public eye in California, but now the 24-year-old New York-based actress and classically trained singer, says she’s ready to “step out and share” her story.

She is the daughter of Prince Albert II, from his brief relationship with Tamara Rotolo, a Californian he met while on vacation in the C te d’Azur in the early 1990’s. After an extended court process, Albert acknowledged their paternity and their meeting marked a turning point for the young girl, who was then 11 years old.

“I wanted that moment to connect with my father, to get to know him, and to have him get to know me,” she told the magazine. “Not having had that figure around, I missed that. It’s wonderful that it happened when it did, and we’ve been enjoying a great relationship ever since.”

Grimaldi is the granddaughter of Hollywood-icon-turned-royal, Grace Kelly, who married Monaco’s Prince Rainier III. She was killed in a car crash at age 52.

While Grimaldi never got to meet her famous grandmother she says she felt “a connection” when she saw the movie High Society for the first time. The 1956 musical stars Kelly alongside Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. “It was the first time I realized we had a connection. I’m passionate about acting, singing, and dancing,” she said. “I saw that in her in this movie. It was a real goose-bumps moment for me.”

Grimaldi, who sang with a friend’s band while attending Fordham University, launched her solo career earlier this year in a cabaret-style showcase called Fall in Love With Jaz, at Manhattan’s Duplex Theatre in February.

Albert has overseen Grimaldi’s education and in recent years, she’s regularly visited Monaco, getting familiar with her extended family and attending major events, like Princess Charlene’s christening and the Monaco Grand Prix just this May. Grimaldi also spends time getting to know her 7-month-old half-siblings Jacques and Gabriella, her father’s twins with wife Princess Charlene, whom he married in 2011, as well as her cousins, the daughters of Princess Stephanie.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE earlier this month, Prince Albert lamented not being able to spend more time with his children in the past.

“It’s already been seven months since the birth of Jacques and Gabriella even longer with my other two children [from previous relationships] and I haven’t always had the time to be with the children as much as I’d like.”

Prince Albert is also father to Alexandre, 11, from his relationship with Nicole Coste; making Alexandre and Grimaldi half-siblings too.

Read the full interview on Harper’s Bazaar‘s website.