1. Growing Up In Columbia
Born in Barranquilla, Columbia, on July 10, 1972, Sophia Margarita Vergara was the daughter of a cattle rancher. Her father used cows for the meat industry while her mother was a homemaker. She had a childhood filled with friends and laughter that she fondly remembers and posts about on social media.
As a child, Vergara's friends nicknamed her "La Toti," and that stuck with her for life. It was a spin on the name Sofia, but meaningless in Columbian culture. She still laughs about this silly name to this day. She has always had a sassy attitude, and you can tell from this photo.
2. Always Taking Photos And Posing For The Camera
Since Sofia was a young girl, she always loved taking photos. She and her friends would get dressed up and take tons of pictures while posing in their houses. On Sofia's Instagram, she posted a series of throwback photos showing her and her friends getting ready for Halloween in 1987.
Sophia is on the right, and you can see how beautiful she already was. She was always having fun with her pals. They attended a private school in Columbia called Marymount International School Barranquilla. The girls wore uniforms, and they would play dress up in fun clothes at home.
3. Carnival Was The Best Time In South America
Sofia captioned this photo, "Tbt Carnaval de Barranquilla, CountryClub, The 80s." This photo screams the '80s with her bright blush and teased hair, but she oddly rocks it. Although she looks like a giant lettuce leaf, she is working the Carnival ensemble as no one else could.
Carnival is a massive celebration in South America, and there are parties, parades, and more. People get dressed up in brightly colored costumes and dance in the streets for four days ending on Fat Tuesday. Sofia enjoyed celebrating while growing up in her home country.
4. Getting Discovered At The Beach
When Sofia was just 17 years old, she was hanging out with her friends by the beach. A photographer spotted her happened to see her star potential. This person had an eye for beauty because Sofia was receiving modeling offers and TV roles within weeks.
Her first commercial spot was in a Pepsi commercial, which made Sofia famous all over Columbia. Sofia shared this photo of herself by the beach dressed in a denim ensemble. We can see why a photographer would approach her because she had that off-duty model look from an early age.
5. Beginning A Modeling Career
Once Sofia was discovered, she was apprehensive about taking modeling and TV jobs because of her catholic upbringing. It wasn't until her catholic school teachers gave her permission that she felt comfortable booking jobs. She had no problem getting offers, but it was uncomfortable for someone her age.
Sofia had the gorgeous looks that would kick off her career, but no one realized at that time where her talents would take her. At that time, she was a small name in Columbia, and soon she would be known around the world.
6. Easy, Breezy, Beautiful...Cover Girl
Sofia has graced the covers of many magazines all over the world. Back in the 1990s, she was the cover girl for Vanidades magazine and she looks young and fresh-faced, Later on, in her career, she became the face of Cover Girl alongside Ellen Degeneres in 2012.
The two had playfully joked about Sofia's struggle to say the catchphrase "Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, Cover Girl." Throughout her career, Sofia has struggled with her heavy accent, but in a way, it has also become her trademark as well. Sofia says that she believes her accent sets her apart from other actresses.
7. After A Family Tragedy, She Moved To The US
While living in Columbia, Sofia's career started to grow, but she knew there was more opportunity for her in the United States. She was hesitant to leave until tragedy struck her family. In 1996, Sofia's brother was murdered in an attempted kidnapping. She knew it would be safer in America, so she made the move.
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Sofia told him that she got a perfect score on her citizenship test. She said, "They make you jump through hoops because they have to make sure you deserve to be a citizen of the country." She officially became a citizen in 2014.
8. She Got Married At 18
Many fans don't know that Sofia was married before her current spouse. When she was just 18-years old, she married her high school sweetheart, Joe Gonzalez. Although the wedding was much different than her $3 million dream wedding years later, Sofia was happy at the time.
The couple got married in 1991, and she looked angelic in white. Although the two were very young, she was so excited to get married. She picked out a beautiful dress and veil and was ready to walk down the aisle and commit to the man she loved through high school.
9. And Had A Son When She Was 19
A year after the couple married, Sofia got pregnant and had a son. They named him Manolo, and Sofia was so excited to have him in her life. While the couple had just had a child together, they were young, and could not make the marriage work. After 2 years, the couple got divorced.
Sofia has not had any other children since her son, but she did freeze embryos with one of her boyfriends. The couple went through a legal battle because he wanted to use the embryos without her permission. The case was dismissed in 2017 because the court didn't have jurisdiction over the embryos.
10. She Is A Cancer Survivor
Sofia is strong, beautiful, and talented, and she is also a cancer survivor. In 2000, she had a suspicious lump on her neck, and the doctors decided to run some tests. She was always healthy, so Sofia didn't think anything of this until they found a lump on her thyroid in an ultrasound.
Sofia found out she had thyroid cancer and had to have her thyroid removed. After removing her thyroid, she had radioactive iodine to kill the rest of the cancer cells. Today she continues to take medicine to prevent hyperthyroidism, and she gets regular health exams.
11. She Is A Natural Blonde
Many people recognize Sofia for her gorgeous brunette locks, but you might be surprised to learn that she is a natural blonde. At the beginning of her career, she was asked to dye her hair brown for a more traditional Latina look. She decided to stick with the brown hair for many years, and it looks fabulous with her skin tone.
When she first started auditioning, people had never seen a blonde Latina. However, Sofia says that if you go to Uraguay, Argentia, or Columbia, many women are blonde. It is much more common than people assume.
12. She Almost Became A Dentist
The world almost missed out on the lovely Sofia because her original plan was to become a dentist. Even though a talent scout discovered her, Sofia remained in school and graduated from high school. She decided to continue on to college and pursue a degree in dentistry.
After two years of dental school, Sofia decided to drop out and pursue modeling and acting full time. Although she decided to let her dental dreams go, is she still passionate about oral hygiene. She insists her son get his teeth cleaned and checked every three months.
13. Her First Big Role Was In A Telenovela
As a Latin American trying to make her way into the acting world, Sofia decided to take some parts in Mexican Telenovelas. Her first notable role was in Acapulco, Cuerpo y Alma, in 1995. Later on, she starred in Fuego en la Sangre.
There was plenty of heartbreak, cheating, and drama that showed off Sofia's diverse acting skills. After a few roles, Sofia decided to take some extra acting classes where Gloria Estefan studied. After the telenovelas, Sofia got a guest role for an episode of Baywatch.
14. She Hosted Two Spanish Shows On Univision
After moving to the United States, Sofia was hired by Univision to host two Spanish shows. The first was a travel series called Fuera de Serie. The show explored different cities around the world and focused on the unique foods and cultures each country had to offer.
The second show was A Que No Te Atreves. It was a variety show where people are dared to do wacky and crazy things in public. The show only ran for one season, but it was fun while it lasted. These two shows were the stepping stones to help boost Sofia's career.
15. She Starred In The Spanish Version Of "Desperate Housewives"
If you remember in the mid-2000s, there was a popular show called Desperate Housewives. The show starred Eva Longoria, Felicity Hoffman, and other big names. The show was such a big hit in America, so they made a Spanish version in which Sofia starred and narrated.
Sofia was in 23 episodes, and the show aired in 2007. Much like the American version, Sofia might not have appeared on camera throughout the show, but you could always hear her voice. She said that this was a terrific experience in her acting career.
16. Getting Her First Big Break
Her first significant role in English was in a Tim Allen movie called Big Trouble, which co-starred Zooey Deschanel, Rene Russo, and Denis Farina. Although the movie wasn't a box-office hit, this was her first feature roll in a film with some notable names in Hollywood.
Sofia played a hotel maid, and many people did not know how this movie would set her on a path to a successful career. The film was set to premiere in early September in 2001, but due to the terror attack of 9/11, the premiere was postponed.
17. She Is An Animal Lover
Sofia posted this photo from the '90s on her Instagram and said it might have been taken in Miami. She is donning a skimpy bikini alongside this gorgeous horse. Sofia enjoys horseback riding and has a passion for all animals.
Not only is she a fan of horses, but she also loves dogs. She threw her son's dog a lavish party for its fifth birthday. The party was princess themed, and it was more fabulous than any other dog birthday you could ever imagine. Her son owns a luxury dog goods company.
18. She Appeared In A Show On Broadway
While Sofia is mostly known for her film and television roles, some people don't know that she was in a Broadway version of Chicago. The multi-talented actress played Matron Mama Morton. Sofia said it was so much fun to work in the theatre, and she would be open to doing more broadway roles.
Although Sofia had never sung live, she was able to carry a tune, and it went well. The show ran in New York and Miami for two months in 2009. We would love to see her do more live shows so that she can show off more of her talents.
19. Bill Cosby Once Creeped Her Out On A Talk Show
After many allegations of sexual assault, most people are now aware of Bill Cosby's predatorial tendencies. In 2003, Sofia was promoting Chasing Papi, a film about three women who figure out their boyfriend is dating all three of them at the same time, like in John Tucker Must Die.
She was making her late-night American debut on The Late Show with David Letterman, but Letterman was out sick, and Bill Cosby was filling in. Instead of sitting behind the desk, he sat right next to her and leaned in very close. Now that we know what he has done, this situation seems much more creepy.
20. She Had A Role In Dirty, Sexy, Money
This is a major blast from the past. Sofia had a guest role on Dirty, Sexy, Money back in the early 2000s. She started to be cast as the "hot Latina" guest on many shows like My Wife and Kids, Eve, and Entourage.
Sofia was gaining more attention in mainstream television, and she was getting closer to the role that would change her life. It was only a matter of time before she got her big break and became a household name.
21. Landing Her Role On Modern Family
Sofia was finally about to get her starring role in Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchet. Her character is the first and fun-loving Columbian wife of Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O'Neill. The producers had heard about Sofia as she was a rising star, and thought she would be perfect for the role.
Within it's first few seasons, the show was already a big hit. While many people were happy to see a Latina woman as the main character on a network TV show, some people thought she was perpetuating stereotypes. Sofia took the criticism and said that all of her inspiration came from her mom and aunts.
22. One Fiance Proposed On Top Of A Pyramid In Mexico
Sofia started dating Nick Loeb in 2010. The couple was in love, and they had talked about plans for starting a family and a future together. In 2012, Loeb took Sofia and her family to the ancient pyramids of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula. He got down on one knee and proposed to her on top of the pyramid.
Although the engagement was extraordinary, it did not last. The couple called off their relationship in early 2014. During their relationship, Sofia and Loeb decided to freeze embryos in case they wanted to have children. After they split, Loeb tried to use the embryos without Sofia's permission and dragged out a court case until the judge dismissed it.
23. She Was Bullied For Her Looks In High School
This one might come as a shock to most because of Sofia's natural beauty and confidence, but she was often bullied in school. As a child, she was very skinny, which made her self-conscious, and the other girls would pick on her.
Sofia would wear two pairs of jeans to fill out her figure so the other girls couldn't laugh at her. Now that she is older, she has so much confidence in her body. We bet those girls aren't laughing at her now, considering how successful she has been in life.
24. Tom Cruise Put Her On A Dating Wish List
In 2005, reports started to surface that Tom Cruise and Sofia began dating. According to a report, Cruise gave a wishlist of women he would like to date to the leaders of Scientology, and Sofia was on the list. She was an up-and-coming actress, but she wasn't part of Scientology.
After their first date, Cruise sent her plenty of flowers, chocolates, and called many times. Although it might have been a good career move for Sofia, things didn't work out between them. Cruise said if they did get in a relationship, she would have to convert to Scientology and renounce Catholicism.
25. She Is An Industry Powerhouse
Everyone knows the incredible talents that Sofia possesses, and she has shown them time and time again. At the beginning of her career, she made a smart move and founded Latin World Entertainment with Louis Balaguer.
At first, they created a calendar of Sofia's sexiest photos, and this brought her more fame in the mainstream markets. Today, LatinWE manages some of the biggest Latin stars in the industry, including Sofia.
26. Many, Many, Many Award Nominations
Sofia is an incredible actress, and she is recognized for her talents by fans and critics alike. Between 2011 and 2014, Sofia was nominated for a best supporting actress Emmy four times. She also has four Golden Globe nominations along with many others, but where are the wins?
While she has received many nominations, Sofia has also won many awards, including an NAACP Image Award, a SAG Award, and a People's Choice Award. Although she has yet to snag one of those Emmy's, she is still an incredible actress.
27. She Is One Of The Highest Paid Actresses On TV
It is no surprise that Sofia was one of the highest-paid actresses on TV in the mid-2010s. At the beginning of Modern Family, she was making around $65,000 each episode. As the show started to gain popularity, the adult cast members were making $175,000 per episode. In the last seasons of the show, Sofia made about $500,000 an episode.
Thanks to her work on Modern Family, Sofia raked in about $44.1 million in 2019. She was in second place behind Nicole Kidman, but she beat out Jim Parsons of The Big Band Theory. Her hard work and dedication to the craft is why she has become so successful since the turn of the century.
28. You Can Spot Her In Meet The Browns
Meet The Browns was a film directed and produced by Tyler Perry in 2008. Perry has an eye for spotting talent, and he has been known to help propel careers or revive old ones. He saw Sofia and thought she would be perfect for playing Angela Basset's best friend because she was a rising star in the industry.
While it might not be her most memorable role, Sofia is quite hilarious in the movie. You are always waiting to see when she will be on screen next because of her sass and comedic role. Around this time, Modern Family was about to premiere, so her career was growing rapidly.
29. She Found The Love Of Her Life
After going through a divorce at 20, and dealing with a failed engagement, Sofia was ready to find love. Her engagement to Nick Loeb ended in May 2014, and she started dating True Blood's Joe Manganiello soon after. The couple got engaged on Christmas Day in 2014, just six months after they started dating.
In November 2015, the couple got married in Palm Beach, Florida, and the wedding costs around $3 million. Joe said he fell in love with Sofia the second he met her because of her pure beauty and bubbly personality. These two are still so in love six years after their first date.
30. She Is From The Same Town As Shakira
Sofia is not the only famous woman from Barranquilla, Columbia. Her close friend and world-wide superstar, Shakira, is also from her hometown. The two are good friends, and for a long time, Sofia wanted Shakira to make a guest appearance on Modern Family.
These two are the most prominent names to come out of Columbia, and they spread pride for their country. They took over each scene and have made their way to the top of the industry.
31. She Has An Incredible Sense Of Humor
If you have ever watched Sofia act, you will know that how hilarious she really is. In an interview with Men's Health magazine Sofia's husband, Joe Manganiello, spoke fondly of what is what like to be married to her and how much she makes him laugh.
Manganiello said, "I like talking and goofing around with her." He said he and Sofia laugh all day long when they are together. Manganiello added that he loves making her laugh until she cries in the most endearing way possible.
32. She Is A Fashion, Jewelry, And Furniture Designer
From acting to singing on broadway, there are few things Sofia can't do. Besides her work in acting, she has also had ventures in fashion, jewelry, and furniture design. Her furniture collection was called Sofia by Rooms 2 Go, and it included bedframes, living room, and dining room sets.
Sofia's jewelry line was in partnership with Kay Jewelers and included 60 pieces ranging from $169 to $1,599. Her favorite venture was in fashion because she has always had a great sense of style. Her first line was with K-Mart, and recently she launched Sofia Jeans sold exclusively at Walmart.
33. She Absolutely Loves Food
Sofia has quite the appetite when it comes to food, but where does it all go? Because of her Columbian heritage, she loves all flavors, and she does not shy away from trying new dishes. Sofia believes her slim figure is all thanks to her genetics because she loves eating more than anything.
Although she loves trying any kind of food, Sofia believes balance is the key to staying in shape. Sofia says she eats balanced meals of vegetables and lean proteins, but she doesn't stop herself from indulging when she wants to. Her favorite guilty pleasure is cake.
34. The Modern Family Cast Has Become A Second Family
Modern Family premiered in 2009, and the series finale aired earlier in 2020. The show's cast worked together for 11 years, and throughout that time, everyone grew incredibly close. Sofia said that everyone was like her second family, and she watched all of the younger cast members grow up.
When the cast filmed the final episode, everyone was so emotional and upset that the show was ending. Sofia said that she was sad the show was over, and she would do it all again if she had the opportunity. She also added that it wasn't about the work, but about the people and the bonds they created.
35. Joe And Sofia Do Not Have Children Together
When Joe and Sofia got married, Sofia was already 43 years old. She had one son when she was young but didn't know if she wanted more children. In 2013, she froze embryos with her previous fiance Nick Loeb, but the two split.
Although Loeb tried to use the embryos, Sofia did not want him to because they signed a contract that stated the other person could not use them without consent. Manganiello and Sofia decided not to have any children of their own, but we can only imagine how beautiful those kids would be.
36. She Is A Judge On America's Got Talent
Early in 2020, Sofia announced that she would be joining the judging panel for America's Got Talent alongside Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel. When Modern Family wrapped, Sofia said she would be trying her luck as a judge, and so far, she has been a joy to watch.
In a recent episode, a contestant did a spoken word piece about his sister, who died in 1997 when she was only eight months old. This performance brought Sofia to tears because it reminded her of the loss of her brother around the same time.
37. She Is Very Close With Her Niece
Sofia and her niece Claudia might be 20 years apart in age, but they look like twins. Sofia and her niece are exceptionally close and share an amazing relationship. They are always taking cute pictures together, and posing in similar outfits.
Recently, Sofia and Claudia posted a photo in matching bikinis from behind, and it was difficult to tell the two apart. They have similar hair color and the same curvaceous figure. Claudia is following in her aunt's footsteps and pursuing a career in acting.
38. She Has Never Gotten Plastic Surgery
Some of the most beautiful women in the world come from Columbia, and Sofia has benefitted from her South American roots. Sofia is proud to say that she is "au natural," and she has never gotten plastic surgery. Sofia is not against plastic surgery, but she has no plans to get work done.
Sofia embraces her natural beauty, and if we looked like that, we would also go natural as well. She is absolutely stunning, and it is lovely to see someone in Hollywood who is not filled with botox and has plastic parts.
39. She Has All Of Her Gowns Custom-Made
While Sofia does love her curvaceous body, she does have to get all of her gowns custom made. She has trouble finding dresses that fit her correctly because of her large chest and small waist, so everything has to be made specifically to her body.
It is no wonder that Sofia's gowns hug her figure like sellotape. There has not been a red carpet where she doesn't look like perfection. Everything fits her body in all the right places and accentuates her natural figure. Throughout the years her style has evolved, but she has always looked amazing.
40. Before She Co-Starred With Him, She Watched Ed O'Neill In Spanish
Before she played Ed O'Neill's spicy Columbian wife on Modern Family, she watched him on Married with Children. She would watch the show in Columbian with the Spanish dubbed over the original sound. When she got the opportunity to work with him later on, Sofia was so excited.
Sofia has spoken fondly of O'Neill, saying, "He is fantastic, sometimes he knows even more than the director when the scene is perfect. Ed knows a lot about TV." Sofia has also said that she learned so much from him while filming Modern Family.