Former America's Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille got a bigger Christmas present than she expected over the holidays: an engagement ring from boyfriend and House of Payne actor Lance Gross.

The couple became engaged on Christmas Eve after Gross popped the question to Marcille by surprising her with a 3.36 1895 Pave Cartier ring as family and friends looked on, the couple told Essence magazine.

"I cried. It was totally unexpected. I'm still in shock," Marcille told Essence following the engagement. "I could not even sleep because I was afraid that I might wake up from the most beautiful dream ever."

Marcille -- who was known as Eva Pigford at the time -- competed on Top Model's third season as a 19-year-old in 2004. Now 23-years-old and using her middle name as her surname, Marcille met Gross when she auditioned for a House of Payne role two years ago and said that she instantly fell for him.

"I'm proud to call Lance mine because I was in love with him before we ever met, she told Essence. "He's my dream guy!"

The 27-year-old Gross, who turned away from a potential career as a track and field professional to pursue acting, said that he also instantly knew Marcille -- who recently joined the cast of CBS' The Young and the Restless soap opera -- was the woman for him.

"I knew the day I laid eyes on her because I just got that feeling," Gross told Essence. "She took full control of my heart and is the only woman that has ever made me feel that way - that’s how I knew she was special."

While the couple has not yet set a wedding date, they are reportedly considering a summer wedding in 2010.
"To put it simply, he makes me a better me," Marcille told Essence. "I am now complete."