Sofia Vergara Talks About Making Money To ‘Take Care’ Of Family: ‘Always Wanted More’
The actress and businesswoman opened up to the comedian about realizing the power of self-branding by selling a calendar of her photos back in the 1990s. Interestingly, that experience taught her lessons that eventually led her to brand deals with Kmart, Walmart, Rooms To Go, and McDonald’s.
Vergara talked about first banking on her personal brand in the 90s when she was still working for Univision. “I started making calendars. The only thing that I could sell was really myself.”
“At that time, because I was young and fresh, I started doing calendars like January, February, all that,” she recalled. “I did really good, it was a big success. I started realizing, I am the product and I can sell [myself].”
In that moment, she realized the value in herself — and in big-money brand deals. And when Vergara said her 90s calendar did “really good,” she wasn’t lying.
As per Forbes, that $12.95 calendar sold nearly a million copies. The star’s longtime manager Luis Balaguer described to the outlet, “Boom! We hit it, and suddenly we were making all of this money, not from Univision, but from her fans.”
Before the calendar, he said they were “both broke, didn’t have a penny” — but that quickly changed. “Acting was what she loved, but she knew she wasn’t going to make money on it, so her entrepreneurialism kicked in,” he remembered.
Vergara openly spoke about her finances before her major “Modern Family” success
Speaking to Hart, Vergara was transparent about her finances while still working with Univision nearly three decades ago.
“Even way before ‘Modern Family,’ in the Latin market, I had my job at Univision,” she said. “But at that time in the 90s, I was making money, but it wasn’t really mansion money or Corvette money.”
“It was money to survive and to save for my son’s college education and all that. It was okay. But I always wanted more.”
The “Chef” actress also talked about her drive to make money to support her family in Colombia. “I always wanted to create something for me, for my son, for my family.”
“I went from Colombia from a lot of problems to living in the United States,” she recalled. “And I wanted to take care of all of them. So I wanted to make money.”
“I love money,” she laughed.
Eventually, that very first calendar sparked new ideas for the actress. Why not continue with brand deals apart from her acting gigs? “[It] became more and more stuff.”
“For example, I knew that I always had a good chemistry with girls, with women fans,” she recalled. “They would always, since I was young, come to me when they would meet me for a picture, [ask], ‘Oh, what perfume are you wearing?’ ‘Oh, with what do you wash your hair?’ ‘Oh, [where] is that lipstick [from]?'”
As she remembers it, those fans’ questions gave her the idea to bank on her influence with brand deals. In that sense, Vergara was an influencer much before social media even existed.
“They’re always asking me, so that’s why I always wanted to… I wish I was some kind of a Martha Stewart of the Latin [market]. That was always my dream.”
The actress also talked about the power of being bilingual when it comes to brand deals
Interestingly, Vergara spoke about the power of speaking both Spanish and English— and how it got her foot in the door.
“I knew I could be a person for commercials,” she explained. “What I thought I could bring to the table for someone was, ‘If you hire me, in one day of shooting, you get it in Spanish, you get it in English.'”
Then, of course, a little bit of jodedera: “Why hire Kevin Hart that can only speak English, when you can hire Sofía Vergara and in one day, do it in Spanish and English?” she laughed.
The actress was also a pioneer for brand deals when she took on her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in 2009.
“Fourteen years ago, not many actresses had other businesses; they were just actresses,” she recalled. However, “coming from the Latin market,” she already had the know-how when it came to cashing in on her likeness.
Vergara’s list of brand deals is endless. Apart from the collabs you might already know about, she has also partnered with Quaker Oats, thyroid medicine Synthroid, Covergirl, and a huge contract with Head & Shoulders— an actual gold mine.
“I’ve made a lot with endorsements and being a spokesperson,” the actress described to NBC. “That has given me a lot of money— and I’ve done a lot of them.” Cha-ching.
She also told the outlet that money isn’t everything, but it sure helps your peace of mind.
“I don’t believe that money is 100% what is going to give you happiness, but I think it takes away a lot of the pressure and stress where you can focus on other things,” she said. “When you’re worried about how you’re going to pay the rent, I don’t think that you can be worry-free, and I always wanted that for myself.”
And one more thing? Never be “scared to negotiate.” She explained, “Somebody is going to make that money, and somebody is going to take that money, and it needs to be you.”
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