The beauty in being a part of the natural hair community is that we all have different journeys of getting here. Whether you’ve been natural all your life, recently returned natural, or just considering starting your journey, we are here to help and listen to the stories of women who can't wait to share their hair chronicles. Our new series will let us in to the everyday lives of women who decided to return to their natural roots.

Naturalista: Eboni Hooper

Age: 23

City: St. Louis, MO

Occupation: Lab Technician for American Red Cross

EBONY: Why did you decide to make the big chop?

Eboni Hooper: After persuasion from my cousin who was long into her natural hair journey, I decided that I too wanted to give it a try. At the time, I was wearing a short relaxed style, so I let my hair grow out and made the big chop in May of 2010. I wasn’t nervous, but I did have a moment afterwards like “Oh my gosh, what have I done?” I don’t have any regrets. I’ve had the chance to enjoy all the stages of being natural. From the teeny weeny ’fro, until now, it’s really been fun.

EBONY: How does your natural hair make you feel?

EH: I feel really confident and in tune with myself. I thought I was confident before I went natural, but I realized that I wasn’t 100 percent, because I wouldn’t dare have gone anywhere with my natural hair. There’s something empowering about having the confidence to rock an Afro.

EBONY: Are there any challenges you face as a naturalista?

EH: When I first made the big chop, some people didn’t like it, and I often got the question of “Why would you cut all of your hair off?” Now that my hair has gotten longer, those same people are complimenting me on my hair. I think there’s a bad emphasis on women’s hair in our culture that makes them feel like the longer the better.

EBONY: What is your favorite go-to product for maintaining your beautiful hair?

EH: I’m in love with One ’N Only Argan Oil Styling Cream! It makes styling my hair so easy and my hair feels so soft after using it.

—LaParis Hawkins

LaParis is a freelance beauty writer from St. Louis currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is also the creator of the blog