Dubbed “Eva the Diva” at an early age by her family, this self-assured model-actress was destined for stardom. As a child, Eva Marcille always managed to be the center of attention, she says, and it’s no surprise with her sculpted looks and fun charm. The former winner of “America’s Top Model” opens up about her leap from runways to daytime TV.
Interviewed by Qianna Smith
Eva attended Atlanta’s Clark Atlanta University, where she majored in speech communications with an emphasis in theatre and minor in criminal justice. The California native had been granted early admission into Vanderbilt Law School when she was selected to be a part of the third cycle of “America’s Next Top Model.”
“I never dreamed winning “Top Model.” My best friend wanted to try out, so I went along to support her,” says Eva. The brown-skin beauty beat fellow contestant Yaya Da Costa. Although Eva was a giant on the runway, she is the shortest winner of “Top Model,” proving her presence both on and off camera is larger than life.
Using her power of persuasion, Eva has flawlessly made a career name change from Pigford to Marcille (Marcille is her middle name) a non-issue. When asked why she switched it up just a year ago, she simply says, “I am focusing on acting, and in the modeling industry I am known by Pigford. When I went to castings, my name was immediately associated with modeling. I had to help myself and my career, and now when I go to castings Marcille has no preconceived notions.”
“I am a part of the ‘Top Model’ fraternity. I speak to Tyra every so often. I saw her at the Emmys, because I was there for the show (‘Young & the Restless’) and was so excited to see her win. At the end of the day, I owe her for the opportunity,” says Eva. Although “America’s Next Top Model” made her famous, Eva has been modeling and acting since her freshman year in college.
“The Young & the Restless” star ironically plays a character named “Tyra” on the show, which Eva claims has no association with Tyra Banks. “Maria Bell, the head writer and executive producer on the show, actually names characters based on the real-life names of her friends and family. A personal friend of hers has a daughter named Tyra and that’s where the name originated from, ” explains Eva.
Dreaming of a white Christmas, Eva enjoys the holidays at the popular California ski destination Big Bear Lake, located in the San Bernardino Mountains. She and boyfriend Lance Gross started the tradition of heading to Big Bear one year ago, and they’re hoping to make the occasion even more special by bringing both their families along. Are these signs of 2009 wedding bells?
A true jet-setter, Eva plans to enjoy some sun and fun in the Caribbean this New Year’s Eve with beau Lance, who plays Calvin Payne in the TBS sitcom “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” Eva dishes that they will be vacationing with Lance’s boss, Mr. Tyler Perry himself. We love when business mixes with pleasure.
“I absolutely love to shop! I hit Black Friday up like you won’t believe. From Rodeo to Barneys to Saks to Neiman’s,” says Eva. The star can’t live without her designer duds. She says she is never caught without her big Louis Vuitton handbag; has so many shoes she had to inlist the help of the Container Store to manage her many stylish options; and adores clothes from Gucci and YSL. Although you see her usually decked out in glamorous get-ups, she owns more than 400 pairs of jeans. Steal Eva’s style by wearing one of her favorite denim designers. She turns to Rock & Republic and Dave Ray for that perfect fit.
Wonder how Eva keeps her skin looking tight and right? She swears by Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser, just $3.14, at Drugstore.com. Ponds deep cleans without drying out the skin, keeping you looking radiant and refreshed. With a work schedule that varies from day to day, Eva needs to look rested so she can be her best on the “Young & the Restless.”
When asked to reflect on her most memorable model moment, Eva says, “Sitting front row at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week–about four seasons ago. I stayed with Donatella (Versace) at her Lake Como mansion and it was just amazing. I went shopping at the Versace store, and when you are with Donatella, you just pick out what you want.” Oh, what a dream. We wonder how many bags of clothes she carried out the store with her? The beauty, who likes everything Italian, dishes that she loves to cook, and her favorite dish to prepare is spaghetti.
Counting down to the new year, Eva gushes to ESSENCE.com that she is “dying for the inauguration of Barack Obama.” The budding starlet also confesses she wants to live more “green” and that Eva is actually the name of a popular biodegradable fabric used to make stylish organic clothing. Going green never looked so good, with celebs like Eva demonstrating the partiality of taking a sustainable approach to life. We love the organic cotton collection launched by H&M early this year that is not only cheap, but very chic.
Eva loves to play video games. The California cutie keeps a pink Game Boy that she has adorned with butterflies with her at all times. Her favorite game is Mario Brothers, and even though she has conquered the game many times she enjoys playing it over and over again.