Modern Family breakout star Sofia Vergara is a full-on sensory assault. Colombian curves poured into a skin-tight animal print dress, punchline-a-minute dialogue, and the Latina accent that she has patent-protected — there’s no way you won’t notice the Emmy award nominee even in a crowd. And to think she nearly became a dentist.
“I was a TV host, and had never acted before moving to Los Angeles,” she admits, adding, “I knew I was funny; I felt funny, but I had no idea I was going to be able to make a living from it, or be nominated for anything.”
Vergara plays the loud and proud Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Star World’s Modern Family, a comedy centred on unique relationships, including a gay couple trying to raise an adopted Asian baby. On the show, Gloria is married to a much-older American man, though she has a 10-year-old son, Manny, with her ex-husband.
Ask Vergara whether having a 20-year-old son, Manolo, helped her acclimatise to the role of a mother on screen, and she says, “My son is older, but it is very similar. We watch the show together sometimes, and he looks at me like, ‘Did you tell them that?’ And at the beginning, I did tell them a lot about how he was.”
She admits her real-life incidents usually work their way into the script, saying, “I don't tell them bad stories. I just tell the truth. This one time I met with an accident, and then for the next week’s episode, I was in an accident there too.”
Vergara is also one of the few actors who get to improvise with the writers’ permission. “I was worried in the beginning, thinking ‘How will they know how a Latin woman thinks?’ But now they even write my mispronunciations. The script will say (Gloria says something in Spanish) and then I’ll just say whatever I think is funny.”
From relative anonymity to having her every move documented by the paparazzi, how difficult is it to live a normal life? “You know, I think I look a little smaller in person than on TV. So people just stare wondering, ‘Is it her? Maybe she is not…’ But the minute I open my mouth, they’ll shout, ‘I knew it.’ As long as I don’t speak, I’m safe.”