Name: Cierra Obioha
City: Kalamazoo, MI
Occupation: Corporate communications employee
EBONY: A lot of women change their hair when they are going through a difficult period. What's your story?
Cierra Obioha: I braved a second big chop because I had a crisis (yes, at 26) and it, along with prayer, helped free me. All at once, I found myself dealing with my mother’s health scare, flailing career, and my boyfriend's acceptance to a job in another state. I had no idea what that would mean for our two and half year relationship. Eventually, when all of these waves settled (i.e. my mother's health improved, I landed my desired role and continued investing in my relationship), I cut my tresses as a symbol of me letting go. Not to mention that I've always wanted to try this look. I didn't cut my hair this low my first big chop 5 years ago.
EBONY: How long have you been natural now?
CO: I've been natural for 5 years and it's so liberating. Even though I embrace my freedom to color, straighten or add extensions to my hair from time to time, I feel more true to myself when I rock my hair in its most natural state, to be honest.
EBONY: How does your natural hair make you feel about yourself?
CO: My natural hair makes me feel unapologetic and free. I feel like one of a kind.
EBONY: Have you notice that people respond to you differently with short natural hair rather than long?
CO: Interestingly enough, I find that many seem to expect me to be bolder with my hair this short. I also receive more compliments with my shorter hair.
EBONY: Are there any challenges you face as a naturalista?
CO: As a young professional in the corporate world, I still find it challenging feeling comfortable rocking my hair at times. I'm always nervous that I won't be seen as the "right fit" for a company because of my look. It’s happened before. Thankfully, I now work for a company that is more focused on my talent than how short, long, straight or curly my hair is.
EBONY: What is your favorite go-to product for maintaining your style?
CO: Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse. It's great for twist outs and for wash-and-gos. I like that it holds my style and moisturizes my hair.
EBONY: What advice would you give someone looking to make the big chop and return?
CO: Just go for it, and be sure to love your hair even through the times you don't understand it. Relearning your hair (i.e. knowing which products to use or best ways to style your hair) is not easy, but once you learn, it's all worth it in the end.-
LaParis Hawkins is a Freelance Writer & Natural Hair Contributor for EBONY.com based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Instagram for all things natural & fabulous @TailoredPieces.