Eva Marcille Is Teaching Her Children to 'Move Through Fear'

The model and actress says she wants to be an example of courage in the face of trials for her three children.

As an actress, producer, entrepreneur, model, and mommy, Eva Marcille does it all with equal parts grace and grit. But when she can pause the active entertainment aspect of her life, she focuses on her family, which includes three children Marley, Mikey, and Maverick. 

“When I'm home, I'm trying to spend time with [my children] together and individually,” Marcille told Kindred by Parents. 

A woman (Eva Marcille) smiles as she sits on a chair


Independent time with each child allows her to honor their varying needs. 

Each child is like a flower in your garden,” says Marcille. “Everyone takes different sunlight, different type of soil, different love, pruning care. “And so just like flowers in your garden, if you have hydrangeas and sunflowers, completely different flowers, both drop dead gorgeous, but they need different things. Too much sunlight for one will completely kill it. The other one does not live at all without sunlight. They're both flowers. They're both in the garden, but they need different things. And parenting is exactly like that. Just because a child is one year old and you've been a parent of a one-year-old before doesn't mean that what worked for that one child works for the other.”

Although she has little ones who need her time and attention, her life isn’t all about the children, Marcille makes time for herself. 

“I think a lot of us women forget about [self-care],” she said. “And self-care does not mean just going to get your cuticles cut back. Self-care means time without a phone, without messages, without emails where you are taking care of yourself. If it's a massage, if it's a foot massage, whatever it is, put your phone away and focus on you and your thoughts.” 

Being the well-known balancing act that she is, it almost seems as if she’s always been a part of pop culture, but it’s only been about 20 years since the world first met the stunner as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model in 2004. 

Marcille was a mass communication student at Clark Atlanta University when she won the modeling competition show at age 19. Leaving college to become a model received mixed reactions from her parents. Her father Evan, a jazz musician was super on board from the jump. The idea of taking pictures for a living took some time to grow on her mother Michelle, a business-savvy policy worker. 

“I definitely had proved to them that this was going to be bankable—they just needed to know that I was going to be able to really sustain myself financially,” she said. 

But if Marley someday decided to model, Marcille said she’d likely become a mix of her parents in response. 

“There's no world that I would tell her no,” she said. “I put her in an acting performing arts camp this year, and she really arrived in the performing arts school. She loves being on screen, she loves embodying a character. And so if she decided that's what she wants to do, I would let her do it. Now modeling, that's different because modeling the industry, it's the number one industry for rejection. The idea of body image of what beauty looks like. The world is going to attack [my children] at some point, so I just want to keep them as innocent for as long as I can.” 

While maintaining innocence is important to Marcille, her most recent television role as Madam on All the King’s Men is quite the antagonist to her real life. When Madam enters the building, fear consumes the room. The no-nonsense crime boss is an alternate reality, one that from Marcille’s vantage point actually represents girl power and narrative control. 

“Oh, I love Madam so much,” Marcille said. “I have learned a new way to describe Madam. Madam is a consummate business professional. She works in this corporate world in a very unconventional corporate job where she's the boss, and she has competitors, she has people vying against her, she has haters, and she has employees that she loves and adores. She has young proteges that she's teaching and training, but she really is just a young woman that wants to build an empire for herself.” 

The actress’ favorite part of the show is that it's a woman's world and representation is ever-present.

“What I really, really have loved about this project and learned and will take from this project to others, is to fight for representation,” she said. “Fight for what you want to look like. Because it's not just what you want to look like, it's what other little girls see. It's what other women see.”

She also got to model her own products as Madam as this past season, all of the character’s jewelry is from Eva by Eva Marcille

While Madam strikes fear into people around her, Marcille faced an iconic moment of fear in real life during her time on America’s Next Top Model. She had to model with a tarantula on her face after she said she made certain to check off her arachnophobia on the program’s intake documents. 

“I remember going into the stairwell, kids don't do this—I had a pack of cigarettes, and I smoked the entire pack,” she said. “I called my brother, who was a gun sergeant in the Marines, and said, ‘Dre, how do you do what you do? There has to be some kind of fear. How do you keep moving in that fear? Because the fear for me is making me mute. I can't move.’” 

Her brother told her simply that fear was going to exist. 

“The triumph is in walking through it. You have to walk through your fear, cry through it, scream through it, shout whatever you can, but you have to walk through it. And so, for me, I realized it wasn't about getting the best picture. If I got kicked off that week, I got kicked off. But it was about learning a bigger life lesson, which is in the midst of all the fear with being as terrified as you are, still have that little ounce of courage, even if it's a mustard seed, to keep moving forward, keep going because that day will end. That will be over in the moment. It doesn't feel like it, but it will. My big brother Andre is the reason why that shot got shot.” 

And she’s been able to pass along that sibling-to-sibling teachable moment to her children. 

“I use it as an example of how I move so that my children learn from it,” she said. “I think a lot of times if we look at how we were raised and our parents were raised, we were told a lot of things, but we were shown different things. And it's kind of hard for a child's mind to grasp doing something different than what I'm seeing you do. You're telling me to do this, but you are doing that. My kids seeing mommy push through, and doing that difficult thing teaches them it's OK to try it. Even if you fail, you tried.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles