It’s no secret Eva Marcille is forever grateful to her modeling mentor, Tyra Banks. Banks helped discover the now-Real Housewives of Atlanta star on her series, America’s Next Top Model back in 2006. Marcille beat out actress Yaya DaCosta for the top spot, a CoverGirl contract and a modeling contract with Ford Models that catapulted Marcille’s career.
When ESSENCE caught up with Marcille one day before her big sister’s birthday, we asked if she had a special message for Banks — and the results made us want to call our own sisters. (Or at least text them!) Marcille called Banks “the epitome of a beautiful, very smart girl.” She continued, “Oh Ms. Tyra Lynne Banks, you are a special human being. I think that you are amazing. I think that your life’s work has been impeccable. I think you have a zillion more years to live, but the ones that you’ve lived thus far have been with grace and with dignity. You are inspiring and aspirational.”

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“I wish you the most amazing year to come with your beautiful son,” she added, referencing Banks’ 2-year-old son, York. “God has a lot more in store for you and may this be your best year yet.” Well said, Eva. Well said!