Eva Marcille is still what we knew her by, just little under a decade ago: "the diva." After winning the third season of America's Next Top Model, the now actress/model has also branded herself into a down-to-Earth beauty who is as loveable as she is fierce. Recently, Marcille blocked out time of her busy schedule to give the scoop on her new show Girlfriend Confidential L.A., and what it means to really make it in the entertainment industry.
EBONY: Eva, you’ve been so busy lately with your multitude of projects. How is everything going?
Eva Marcille: Everything is going well. We’re wrapping up the first season of Girlfriend Confidential: L.A. with the grand finale tonight on Oxygen. I’m just excited to see everything we’ve worked really hard for just unfold on camera. Sitting back and truly being proud of everything I see [on the show] feels good.
EBONY: We love the show; it’s very girl next-door meets Sex in the City, without the fluff. When you were in talks about Girlfriend Confidential LA, did you make it clear that you didn’t want any cattyness?
EM: I made that very clear, and let me just tell you, Mel—I think we're friends now, so I’m going to nickname you— I really fought my butt off to make a show. It wasn’t about being catty; it was about it being real to my life. If someone has a catty type of life, and that’s what they portray on television, then more power to you. I’m not knocking their situation. However, that’s not my reality. I know a lot of women, especially women of color, who work in entertainment or are bosses in their field, and that’s not their reality either.
My idea of an amazing show was basically to portray women of color or just women period, in a different light that you see currently on television.
EBONY: It’s a breath of fresh air; we needed something different. We need variety.
EM: I think about the girl who doesn’t have a best friend yet and is figuring out what to look for in a friend. I want to make sure that the representation that I’m putting out there is something that kids can [positively] take from. Sometimes young girls don’t understand the separation of reality TV; what's fun and games and what’s real life. I wanted to make sure that young girls across America that don’t know African -American women get the opportunity to see us in a positive light.
EBONY: Thank you for putting it that way, without putting down the other reality shows.
EM: Of course, I mean it’s what makes the world go round. We watch boxing matches but you don’t want to see a brawl in the parking lot. But you will pay $2000 to watch an organized fight in a ring. So it’s all about perspective.
EBONY: The world got to know you literally overnight. Afterwards, it seemed like you were sort of left to fight for your career, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. What has been the biggest challenge post America’s Next Top Model?
EM: It’s a part of the business that a lot of people don’t talk about. It’s the reason why a lot of young people that aspire to be stars are very misinformed. It’s not about breaking out its about staying out; about looking up and being able to sustain. In this business, make your money, save your money, and create a business behind what it is you do. It’s all about sustainability and I think the most difficult part for me has been walking away from those projects that I know will make me money, but are not filled with integrity. So working with integrity has to be the most difficult part of the business because the allure of money and finances and opportunity are right in front of you. But just because they are right in front of you doesn’t mean they’re good for you.
EBONY: How important is relevancy over talent in this business?
EM: You can’t sell anything unless something is relevant. You can’t sell a magazine, you can’t sell a product, you can’t sell anything unless the person that’s selling it, or the product is relevant enough. To become a spokesperson for Nike, as a ball player you have to be a relevant ball player. What it is about, especially for women of color, is not selling out to be relevant. and losing your integrity. And if there are projects around you that are not making sense, make your own.
EBONY: You seem to have a pretty good handle on your work/life balance. How do you do accomplish this?
EM: Like I said, I’m almost ten years in, so it’s not my first time at the rodeo. I started in this business at 18-years old and I will be 28 at the end of this month. I’ve had trial and error in my relationships where I prioritized work and the relationship suffered, etc. For me, it was about learning the kind of guys that really do mesh with my personality and my career choice. I’m still young, so I’m figuring it out. I don’t try to create anything negative or assist with anything that’s going array in my life. I try to keep all my relationships intact. My father had a stroke, so were dealing with his recovery. My family means everything to me.
EBONY: Do you support the idea of children and teens coming into the industry, or are you more fond of someone waiting a little while longer, after they've 'found themselves?'
EM: I think everybody has a different journey. Some people have the ability to be introduced to this business at a young age, and keep their wits about them. I don’t want children, but if there were a miracle in life where I had children, I would not allow them to play in this business at all until they are of legal drinking age. That’s just me. Growing up the way I grew up in South Central with three brothers, I was a little bit more prepared for the rigors of this business. I’d walk in or be leaving a fashion show and everybody is in the back doing drugs. Growing up in the hood, I’ve kind of seen that before. But for a girl who has not been around that? It could really rock her mind.
EBONY: I so wasn’t expecting that the legal drinking age rule!
EM: To each their own. Will and Jada [Smith] and their kids there in the public eye and they do a good job. Jaden did an amazing job in Karate Kid. I think Willow is the most adorable little girl ever. But in this business, once you’re in it, you can’t get out. Once you’re in, you’re in. Look at Keisha Knight-Pulliam. We knew her as ‘Rudy’ of the Cosby’s. She went along to college and now we still see her on TV trying to make this thing work for her, because to be completely honest, she can’t go work for Renaissance hotel. She has to make this work for her.
EBONY: If Eva Marcille wasn’t an actress and model, what would she be doing?
EM: Eva Marcille Pigford would be a Supreme Court Justice. My hero in life is Thurgood Marshall—I know I’m a dork, don't judge me. I would be helping the disenfranchised people of the community. I've seen the devastation of life when it comes to pleas, being falsely accused and just imprisonment our young men. So I would fight my butt off to change laws and legislation to make this very unfair life for our Black men, a little more fair.
EBONY: I can see that, you seem to have the heart of a fighter. Can you talk about any upcoming projects you’ve been working on?
EM: Recently I was in a film called, Note to Self, which was released on iTunes. It’s with myself, Christian Keys, Latoya Luckett and Bryan McKnight. It’s a coming of age story about a kid who plays basketball in college and is just trying to figure out his life and to trying to make the right decisions. It’s about age and accountability. Obviously my Ciroc campaign is still going on. Go get that premium vodka! And I have some very huge news about a new contract in makeup I’m working on, but I can’t let you know about that yet.
EBONY: Speaking of beauty, in every scene you are just on so on point with your hair, makeup and style. What is your beauty routine and signature style?
EM: Thank you! As far as my skin is concerned, cleanliness is next to godliness in everything, especially your skin. So whatever you put in your body your shows through your skin. I literally live to clean my skin. In one of the episodes, you probably saw me washing my face. That’s literally me five times a day. But aside from that I think with the fashion, it's innate. It’s a personal style. I remember when I was on 'Top Model' and after I won, Tyra came to my room and said, “girl let me tell you what you have that most celebrities don’t have…a sense of style”. I didn’t understand what she meant then.But I’ve learned from being in this business for a while that it’s definitely something that comes from within. The woman makes the clothes, the clothes do not make the woman.
EBONY: Are there confirmed talks about a second season of Girlfriend Confidential LA?
EM: We are hoping and praying, more so for the fans. They are so upset [that] the season is over so soon.
EBONY: What authentic advice can you give to young women who want to really make their dreams come true and how they can fill in the gray areas of insecurity?
EM: I would like to tell every single young woman and every young man, for that matter, that beauty is something that lies within. It’s created within your soul. It is literally your job, your duty to create beauty within, because that’s what brings it outside. You may see me and go “Oh my God your beautiful," but no, I’m happy. I’m a very happy person and I’m at a very good place in my life. So for starters, we have to work on ourselves from the inside out. As far as the business is concerned, if your mind can conceive it you can literally achieve it. You can actually achieve do more than your mind can conceive. I’m a firm believer in God and he said he’s going to “pour that out tenfold," whatever you can conceive. Just stay rooted in whatever your faith is. But I will also say when it comes to entertainment, it is only for the strongest of the soul.
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Associate Beauty and Style Editor, Digital