Eva Marcille joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta this season, but it almost feels like she's been there all along. Maybe that's because Eva has been a major part of our lives for years after first bursting onto the scene in Cycle 3 of America's Next Top Model, which she won back in 2004.
So becoming a part of the RHOA crew feels like "an organic integration" for Eva in a lot of ways, especially since she's been all over your TV screen since ANTM in projects like The Young and the Restless, House of Payne, and Scared Famous. "However, beware, Real Housewives is like no other beast," Eva recently shared with The Daily Dish. "It doesn't matter that I've done other shows or that I'm aware of the camera and cool with that. Like, Housewives and everything that comes with it — the women, the circumstances, the drama, the shade — it's like a whole 'nother world."
Living in a house with 13 other models during her time on ANTM didn't even prepare Eva for rooming with The Real Housewives of Atlanta on their trip to Barcelona earlier this season. "I must say I think it was a little easier in the house with the Top Models [laughs], just because we all just had one common goal. We all just wanted to be on top, so to say (no pun intended, Tyra). But when it comes to the girls of the Housewives, you really don't know what wavelength anyone is on at any given moment on any day," Eva said. "Like on Top Model, you know, we all came in with one common goal, and we're all newbies aspiring to be amazing models. But on Housewives, I'm coming in to like 10 years of history, of drama, of issues that I'm not necessarily privy to."
The America's Next Top Model Cycle 3 Cast.
Eva got to relive her ANTM experience when she returned to the series, along with noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker, in a special throwback-themed episode of Cycle 24 airing March 27. "Oh my goodness, coming back to Top Model this year was amazing. It's so weird going back and meeting all these hopefuls, and I know exactly how they feel, like literally exactly how they feel. Not just young models but women in a house under the direction of Tyra Banks, the most amazing supermodel ever, and really vying for just that one spot, questioning every single thing you do, praying and hoping that there's something extra special in you, not really knowing what you're doing, but hoping that whatever it is sticks," she gushed. "There's so many things that go into it. Seeing these women, and they're all so beautiful in different ways, it was very surreal being back in that world."
But of course, ANTM and reality TV in general have grown so much since 2004. "Top Model has money now! I did Season 3, Tyra put up our wallpaper in our house. We were driving the milk vans, the 16-passenger vans. It was not super cool. Production wasn't extremely funded at all. Now it's decked out. There's like a full system. I don't even think reality TV was considered a complete genre at the time. It was kind of something that was happening," Eva said. "So to watch Top Model and its glow up, so to say — #GlowUp — over the past 14 years has been amazing. It really has."
Recent seasons of ANTM have also reflected changes in the modeling industry that have come about thanks to the growing influence and impact of social media. Despite the modeling world's evolution, Eva said that she's still confident that she could take home ANTM's top prize. "If I entered the competition today, I would totally win! There's Instagram now. We didn't have Instagram! We didn't have Twitter," Eva said, adding that the social networks that existed at that time were just at their infancy, such as MySpace and BlackPlanet. "I would've learned how to smize. I would have learned makeup tricks. When I went on Top Model, I didn't know anything. I just knew magazines and old-school models, and that was about it."
Eva and Tyra.
One thing that hasn't changed since Eva won ANTM in the early days of the competition is her love and gratitude for Tyra. "I still think that Tyra is the bee's knees. She started my career off years ago. She believed in a little girl from South Central [Los Angeles], so much so that not only did I win her show, but she managed me and guided my career for the first few years of my stardom, so to say, and really taught me and led me in the industry. She gave me access to her manager, who became one of my managers also, Benny Medina, the great. And so I adore her," Eva shared. "If not for her, I don't know where I'd be, as far as entertainment is concerned. And I think she's an amazing role model, like what she's done for women, and men now too, through Top Model has been exceptional. She has really given so many people an opportunity. She's given regular girls and guys an opportunity to see a better reflection of themselves and a more relatable reflection of themselves, as well as all of her philanthropic work. I mean, what more can you say about Tyra Banks? She's everything."
We couldn't agree more.
So what does Tyra have to say about Eva and her time on RHOA? Find out, below.