Naturalista:  Rosalyn Reese

Age: 22

City: Nashville, TN

Occupation: Research Assistant, Vanderbilt University Department of Chemistry 

EBONY: Why did you decide to go natural?

Rosalyn Reese: It kind of an accident. I was rocking braids for a really long time because it was easy to manage my hair. When I finally took it out, it was probably like 4-5 months since I had gotten a perm. I was like 'Why not just cut the perm off?' I cut it off at like three in the morning with a friend. Ever since then, I feel like natural hair had been me. I feel like every day I love my hair more and more. It was fate.

EBONY: How does your hair make you feel?

RR: It definitely makes me feel more confident. Natural hair isn’t mainstream. so you have to be confident to wear it. Sometimes it can be different when people aren't exposed to it. Some people who haven't been exposed to natural hair think my weird, but I don't really care anymore.

EBONY: Does it bother you that people think your hair is weird?

RR: The first time I wore my hair in an Afro, I got strange looks. One of my Asian friends came up to me and said they didn't even recognize me. She was acting like I startled her. Then I had a Caucasian friend say that she really loves my natural hair and how curly it is. You can't please everyone so I just wear the hair that I like.

EBONY: What other challenges do you face wearing natural hair?

RR: The assumption that I'm militant because I have natural hair. When they get to knows me then they're like 'Oh, you're not militant at all.' When people first meet me they are taken aback and are hesitant to approach me—and then they realize I'm a cool person.

EBONY: Do you have a favorite "go-to" product?

RR: Right now, I've been really into organic coconut oil and shea butter. I also love Curls Lavish Curl Moisturizer to revive my 'day two' hair.

EBONY: Who is your natural hair inspiration?

RR: My celebrity hair crush is Elle Varner because I love how she wears her hair big and curly. My natural hair goal is for my Afro to grow big and full, sort of how they wore them in the 70’s. 

-LaParis Hawkins