21 Facts About Colombian Actress Sofia Vergara You Didn’t Know
You know all about Sofía Vergara, right? Well, that’s what you think. Sofía has lived a rich, full life, and something tells us she’s just getting started.
1. She’s from the same city in Colombia as Shakira
Sofía was born to a large family in Barranquilla, Colombia. Barranquilla is a seaside city of over one million people located on the Caribbean. Sofía’s five siblings called her “Toti.” Pop superstar Shakira also hails from Barranquilla.
2. She was discovered on a beach
Somehow, modeling scouts discovered Sofía during a trip to the local playa in Barranquilla. Those modeling scouts, they never let a girl just relax! She was soon cast in a Pepsi commercial that made her famous throughout Colombia.
3. She came very close to being a dentist
Despite being discovered by a talent scout, Sofía continued with her schooling, completing two years of dental school before dropping out because of those pesky modeling jobs. She remains “obsessed” with oral hygiene, insisting that her son get a checkup every three months. C’mon, mom!
4. She was married at 18 and had a baby at 19
Sofía married her childhood sweetheart Joe Gonzalez at age 18 and gave birth to her son, Manolo, a year later. Though the marriage was over a year after that, Manolo has been a steady presence throughout her rise to superstardom.
5. Her first break was being cast in a telenovela
Like many stars from Latin America, Sofía cut her teeth in Mexican soaps, performing on Acapulco, Cuerpo y Alma, in 1995 and later on Fuego en la Sangre. There were cheating hearts and double crosses, we suspect.
6. She hosted two Spanish-language shows on Univision
After relocating with her family to Miami in the mid-90’s, Sofía was hired as the host of a Spanish-language travel show called Fuera de Serie. She and co-host Fernando Fiore would travel to exotic locations. Their wardrobes differed significantly.
7. She is a cancer survivor
In 2000, at the age of 28, Sofía was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Like everyone diagnosed with the dangerous disease, she was terrified. But doctors removed her thyroid, killed any remaining cancer cells with radioactive iodine, and neutralized the threat. Now, she’s a cancer survivor of over 17 years.
8. A Tim Allen movie put her on the path to stardom
Big Trouble, an ensemble caper movie starring Tim Allen and Rene Russo would achieve minor fame as one of the first movies to be postponed after the September 11th attacks. But a certain Colombian actress portraying a hotel maid would go on to achieve major fame.
9. Her next role was in a minor Latino classic
Chasing Papi made headlines in 2003 for its celebration of Latin culture. And Sofía made an impression, too, as one of three women vying for the attention of the titular Papi. Love her part in Modern Family? Check out some behind the scenes facts of the show!
10. Bill Cosby Got Weird with her on Letterman
While promoting Chasing Papi, Sofía made her American TV debut in 2003, on The Late Show with David Letterman. There was just one problem, though: Letterman was out sick, so Bill Cosby filled in for him. Was he creepy? Oh yeah. He sat in the chair next to her (not behind the desk) and leered at her throughout the interview. His downfall was still 11 years away.
11. She was in “Soul Plane”
For the uninitiated, there was a movie called Soul Plane that came out in 2004. It was kind of Def Comedy Jam take on Airplane!, with Sofía playing opposite future Oscar winner Mo’Nique, as well as Kevin Hart, Tom Arnold, and many others. The movie attracted some controversy at the time for exploiting negative stereotypes, but Sofía just breezed through it.
12. She was on Dirty Sexy Money
Another blast from the early 2000’s past. Sofía kicked off a number of “hot Latina” guest spots with a turn on Dirty Sexy Money, a 2004 dramedy starring Donald Sutherland. While the show didn’t last long, it did get her noticed by execs at ABC who would remember her for later…
13. Her one time fiancé proposed atop a Mexican pyramid
For her 40th birthday in 2012, Sofía’s then-boyfriend Nick Loeb took her and many family members to a place she’d always wanted to go: the ancient pyramids of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula. Her team took special care to see that she and Loeb could climb to the top, where Nick surprised her with a proposal. Like the Mayan empire, however, the engagement did not last.
14. She was in Meet the Browns (the movie)
Among his many virtues, Tyler Perry has proven very adept at spotting talent. Many of the little-known stars of his films have gone on to much bigger things, and he has also given big names some career resuscitation. Witness Meet the Browns, a 2008 drama from Perry that was something of a comeback for star Angela Bassett, as well as an attention-grabbing turn for her best-friend in the film, Sofía Vergara.
15. She was in “Chicago” on Broadway
Not long after shooting a pilot called “An American Family” for ABC, Sofía made her Broadway debut. She played the prison matron Mama Morton in the long-running show, “Chicago”, a part made famous by Queen Latifah in the movie version. Although she had never sung live before, she knew she could carry a tune and she did it well, playing the part in New York and Miami for two months in 2009.
16. She narrated the Colombian version of “Desperate Housewives”
This job is one of the few that spans her pre- and post-Modern Family career. After the stupendous success of the American original, the format for Desperate Housewives was copied all over the world. The most successful was the Colombian version, Amos de Casa Desesperados, for which Sofía was executive producer and voiced the mysterious narrator for four seasons, from 2007 – 2011.
17. Her role as Gloria on Modern Family won plaudits and controversy
When Modern Family took the TV world by storm in 2009, Sofía’s character, Gloria, was the original breakout. While many were encouraged to see a Latina in such a prominent and funny role on a network TV show, some thought she was perpetuating Latina Stereotypes. Sofía clapped back at the haters, saying she based the character of her mother and her aunts.
18. She is an entertainment industry powerhouse
At the beginning of her career, Sofía founded Latin World Entertainment with partner Luis Balaguer. The two produced a calendar of Sofía’s sexiest photos that brought her to wider renown in the US market. Twenty years later, LatinWE is a major player, managing the careers of some the biggest Latin stars today, including Sofía herself.
19. She is a furniture, fashion and jewelry designer
Sofía can and will invade your home because she has a furniture collection called Sofia at Rooms To Go. You can wear her clothes, from her fashion label at KMart. And you can make yourself all pretty with her So Sofía collection at Kay Jewelers.
20. She has yet to take home an Emmy or Golden Globe, despite many nominations
Sofía has been nominated for the supporting actor Emmy four times, from 2011 – 2014. And she’s been nominated to the Golden Globes 4 times as well, from 2010 – 2013. Were any of those wins? Nope. This injustice will be righted one day. Until then, she’ll have to console herself with her 2017 People’s Choice Award.
21. She is the highest paid actor on television
Time was, male actors always topped the list of highest paid TV personalities. Times have changed. On the list of highest paid actors on TV, Sofía is tops. And not only that: she out-earned the second-highest paid actor (Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons) by a whopping 14 million dollars in 2017, which was her sixth consecutive year topping the list. Not bad for a girl from Barranquilla.