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No one understands or appreciates the valuable role a mentor can play in elevating a career, work ethic and lifestyle more than Eva Marcille. While many of us only saw Eva and supermodel and businesswoman extraordinaire, Tyra Banks interact as contestant/judge on the fan-favorite reality series America’s Next Top Model, there has always been much more to their relationship.

Marcille—now a wife, mother, actress, producer, Real Housewives of Atlanta peach-holder and CBD product line founder—withheld no praise for the beauty mogul in a recent conversation on Yes, Girl! Podcast. She credits Banks with showing her the ropes, paving the way for Black beauty as a norm, and throwing away the “box” and allowing her to be her full self.

“I remember when I first started out modeling, there were all these things inside of a box that I was supposed to be. But for some reason, the largeness that is me never fit in that box,” Marcille effused. “And Tyra decided that the box don’t work. Let’s not do the box.”

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The third season winner of America’s Next Top Model says she learned a great deal not just from Banks’ words. Her work ethic made a lasting impression that has impacted how Eva Marcille has conducted herself and her business.

“She managed me, she taught me about my word, about diligence…because beauty and sass alone is not going to create a paycheck,” said Marcille. “And it wasn’t just what she said, it was more so what she did, her actions. She would get in early and set up something for our challenge, and then judge that night, leave there, [then going to] Victoria’s Secret. There’s always something.”

To hear the full episode with Eva Marcille, listen to Yes, Girl! anywhere you listen to podcasts.