Glam Belleza Latina’s Winter Cover Star: The Cool, The Confident Sofía Vergara!
Modern Family introduced us to Sofía Vergara, but the whip-smart Colombian beauty has been steadily working on her craft for years. GBL gets the success secrets of TV’s highest-earning actress.
A force of nature—is there any other way to describe Sofía Vergara? Turn on the television, walk by a billboard, shop at a nearby retailer, and you’ll likely see Vergara’s larger-than-life and perfectly made-up face smiling back at you. The tabloids are obsessed with Vergara’s engagement to businessman Nick Loeb, while the style editors can’t get enough of her glamorous red-carpet appearances.
The Colombian beauty’s world domination started with her role on Modern Family, as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, a Latina character with a thick accent and bodacious body whom Vergara, 41, managed to make relatable, à la Lucille Ball, to American viewers. What a lot of people don’t know about Vergara, though, is that this popularity has been a long time coming. She has worked constantly since her teens, when she starred in a Pepsi commercial in Latin America that put her on the map for Spanish-speaking audiences. Stints as a cohost on two popular Univision shows in the U.S. soon followed. And long before Latinos were in the mainstream, she cofounded Latin World Entertainment, a talent management and entertainment marketing firm. Today she has a best-selling clothing line at Kmart, is a face of CoverGirl and Diet Pepsi, and just launched a furniture collection with Rooms To Go. And early next year she’ll be featured with her family in a campaign for Head & Shoulders. What does this all add up to? For the second year in a row, Forbes named her TV’s highest-paid actress.
Clearly, we had to check in with the vivacious Vergara, America’s beloved star.
GLAM BELLEZA LATINA: Wow, Sofia, you’re quite the overachiever. Was there ever a moment, growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia, when you imagined reaching this level of success?
SOFIA VERGARA: I have been working hard since I was 17 years old. I always had goals that I wanted to reach and businesses that I wanted to start, but I never knew I would have these opportunities. It’s just happened over the years as a result of hard work and being lucky enough to find the role of Gloria on Modern Family.
GBL: You’re known as the gorgeous bombshell with the lush hair, pretty face, and curvy body. Did you ever think that your look would be so inspiring to so many women worldwide?
SV: Women have told me that it is nice to see a curvy woman wearing beautiful clothes on the red carpet. I don’t think it is something that I even considered when I was growing up, that I would be working in Hollywood and inspiring women, but it is pretty fantastic.
GBL: We hear that you asked your Catholic-school teachers for permission to film that first Pepsi commercial as a teen. What was it about being in a bikini that made you nervous?
SV: I went to a very conservative international Catholic school in Barranquilla, called Marymount, run by amazing, yet strict, nuns. I was scared that I was going to get in trouble. I was concerned! At the end of the day, nothing bad happened, but rumor says they weren’t thrilled.
GBL: Is it fun these days to surprise people with your business sense?
SV: I think that the concept of being sexy and smart is difficult for many to grasp. Most people are more comfortable with the notion of “sexy bimbo.” And I have to admit that I’ve capitalized on that to negotiate a couple of times, when the “smart ones” think I have no idea what I can deliver, and I end up costing them more.
SV: I’m not ashamed to say I love making money. I like business, and the truth is I save way more than I spend. I invest. I plan for the future. I have a special eye for opportunities and work harder than anyone might expect. It is fun to shock people with my business ideas. Most people just see me as Gloria.
GBL: A lot of the credit for your success is given to your bilingual appeal. Americans love you. Latinos love you. Tell us about that.
SV: For me, it’s so clear. There are millions of hardworking Latinos in the U.S., doing their jobs, willing to try harder to succeed, and taking good care of their kids and family. We all spend, buy, participate heavily in this economy, and support each other. So I am one of them. I made my crossover, but I am still 100 percent a Latina mom.
GBL: You had your son, Manolo, when you were 19 years old. What was it like to be a young mother?
SV: I got married and wanted kids instantly. Looking back now, I realize that although it was tough, it made me focus on working hard and not letting this business take the best of me. Because I had a child to support, I was always motivated. And Manolo’s father and I are still great friends.
GBL: And today? What’s your relationship with Manolo like?
SV: Manolo is a smart, old soul and has been my companion throughout life. He just turned 22, so it is nice to be able to go out to dinner with him when he isn’t in school and spend time with him.
GBL: You come from a big Latin family and often bring them to events. Are you a close family?
SV: They are all so happy for me and supportive. I celebrated my fortieth birthday in Mexico by flying 100 of them in from Barranquilla, Bogotá, Miami, and Los Angeles, and we spent a week partying like crazy. My family is what keeps me going, is my engine, what makes me happiest. For the Emmys I invited 20 of them, and we all went together to the ceremony and the parties and had the best time. Because fame came so early in my life, they don’t read much into it.
GBL: You’re a natural blond, yet I heard you felt you needed darker hair in Hollywood. Is this true?
SV: When I first got to Hollywood, I wasn’t getting roles because I didn’t look, according to many casting directors and producers, “Latina enough.” The reality is Latinos come in all colors, heights, and flavors, but who was I to preach this stuff when I needed a job? My team and I decided to darken my hair to make it more in tune with my accent, and it worked. Now that my hair is closer to its original color, I feel great. I don’t have to darken my roots all the time!
GBL: When you hear the words Latina beauty, what does that mean for you?
SV: I see it more like an attitude. The glam and sexiness of Latinas live in the fact that most of us take great care of ourselves; we make our hair beautiful; we love perfume; we can wear high heels without complaining. I remember my mother and aunts always wearing makeup and looking beautiful even if it was just to drop us off at school.
GBL: You’re known for wearing Colombian jewels for red-carpet moments. Is this your way of keeping your culture front and center?
SV: Emeralds are the most beautiful stone ever, and the most spectacular emeralds on the planet come from my country. Anytime I get a chance to honor that, I do.
GBL: You’re truly a modern American woman.
SV: I just want to be the best version of me I can, with all my defects, shortcomings, and all, so that some women, especially single moms, can identify with me. I hope that I can help them feel more entitled to feel proud of themselves and dream big.