Anya Leon and Jen Juneau
November 21, 2017 11:50 AM

Eva Marcille‘s year just keeps getting better — she’s pregnant!

The winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 3, who has joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is expecting her second child, she reveals to PEOPLE exclusively.

The baby boy on the way will be Marcille’s first child with boyfriend Michael Sterling, a recent candidate for the mayor of Atlanta. She also shares daughter Marley Rae, 3½, with ex Kevin McCall.

Joe Carlos Photography

“I said, ‘Marley, would you like to have a little brother or sister?’ And she said, ‘Yes, Mom, but you know what? Maybe a baby brother. Make it a brother,’ ” the 33-year-old mom-to-be recalls of the sweet conversation between herself and her little girl.

“I thought that was adorable, but at the time, I had no idea what I was having, so my fear [about] this extremely expressive and outgoing young girl [was] if this baby came out to be a little girl, that might not be a great situation for Marley,” adds Marcille with a laugh.

“However, I found out soon after that I was having a boy, and I felt like she willed it in her favor. I’m beyond elated to be having a boy.”

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Eva Marcille's pregnancy announcement
Joe Carlos Photography
Eva Marcille's pregnancy announcement
Joe Carlos Photography

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Marcille — who looked stunning in Fillyboo’s “Little Bear” Hand-Embroidered Maxi Dress for her sweet announcement photo shoot — tells PEOPLE the baby news was “kind of a surprise” to her.

“My body felt super weird. I didn’t know what was going on,” she says. “I went to the doctor and because of my symptoms, he decided to do an ultrasound to see if I had any cysts or tumors or fibroids or things of that nature.”

“He did an ultrasound and lo and behold, we were seven and a half weeks pregnant,” Marcille continues. “I was like, ‘What?!’ I was expecting the worst only to find out I was carrying a life. It was crazy.”

And her reaction upon finding out? “I was shocked and terrified all at the same time,” she admits. “It was not planned — it was very unexpected, and [Michael] was in the middle of this mayoral campaign where being pregnant was not a part of the agenda.”

RELATED: America’s Next Top Model Alum Eva Marcille Joins Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 10 Cast

Opposites attract for the star and her beau, whom Marcille describes to PEOPLE as “an extremely even-keeled guy” who could “be in the middle of Y2K and still would not be excited at all” — as opposed to her own personality (“I emote for everything”).

So while it took a little while for Sterling to process the news, he was eventually overjoyed. “When I initially told him, he was like, ‘Oh, okay,’ and I could tell he was surprised and didn’t want to overreact or react in a way that he would regret or that would scare me,” she explains.

“A few days later, like the lawyer he is, he took an opportunity to assess the situation and think it through and analyze,” Marcille continues. “We talked about it again, and he was excited. Which was a huge relief to me — excitement is what we want.”

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RELATED: Eva Marcille Expecting First Child

Marcille recalls her first-trimester morning sickness and tells PEOPLE her current big cravings are apples and pickles, even on the go.

And the couple already have a name picked out — though it wasn’t of Marcille’s choosing. “I was thinking about naming him after my grandfather, whose name is Major,” she says, noting that her daughter was named for Bob Marley. “It’s a way to keep his name and his spirit alive and bring it into our family.”

But the dad-to-be is getting his mini-me this time around: Michael Todd Sterling Jr. “Also known as Mikey — that’s what Marley calls him,” says Marcille of her son on the way. “We have a junior, which is kind of terrifying to me because Michael is the most ambitious person I’ve ever met.”

“So for our son to now have to live up to his dad, it lets me know that there is a great promise on his life, but it’s also terrifying because he has so much to live up to,” she continues.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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