Sofia Vergara is excited. This is not unusual—Sofia Vergara is often excited about something or other, especially when there’s jewelry around. “Is that your engagement ring?!” she squeals, taking hold of my hand as she settles into our banquette at the Ritz-Carlton in New York. “I loave eet so mush!” she cries in the rococo Colombian accent that has made her the undisputed star of ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family and the highest-paid woman in television. “Eets so modern; mine is like traditional, and eets so dirty,” she says, waving the hand that holds her blinding ice cube of a ring. “Eets like I come out of the shower and I put cream all over, and then I look and I’m like, Oh, no! What happened?” Like many beautiful women who have succeeded in making the world fall in love with them, Vergara is a master of self-deprecation. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, she has referred to herself as old, dirty, exhausted, annoying, crazy, and psychotic, and though of course she is none of these things, this cheerful, ruthless self-mockery gives her a friendly, impish quality that makes her impossible not to like. The truth is, Vergara is even prettier in person than she is on TV. The hair is lighter—a warm caramel color—and blown into soft, face-framing waves, as opposed to the ’70s-style cha-cha curls she wears as Modern Family’s Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. The tilting golden cat eyes are lightly made up, the skin luminous, the outrageous breasts tucked tastefully away beneath a blue-gray cashmere Henley and a fine-patterned cashmere scarf looped elegantly around her neck. Her jeans fit as if they were made for her. She seems not so much a TV actress as the sort of wealthy, pampered, playful Latina princess who inevitably throws the best dinner parties in town.
“Let’s have wine, no?” says Vergara, 41, who’s currently on hiatus from filming Modern Family and has just returned from a 10-day vacation in Asia with her 21-year-old son, Manolo, and her fiancé, Nick Loeb. (“Oh, my God, the Peninsula Shanghai ees incredible!”) A minute later, glasses of white wine arrive, along with roasted chicken and a lobster nicoise salad that’s served by an openly awestruck waiter, but while Vergara generally projects the impression of a girl for whom life is one long pleasure cruise, for the past few years she’s actually been working her tail off. “I’m making the most of my 15 minutes,” she likes to say.
In addition to high-profile endorsement deals with brands like Pepsi, CoverGirl, and Kmart, Vergara has two movies due out in 2013 (including Robert Rodriguez’s ultra-camp, blood-splattered action flick Machete Kills, coming next month, in which she sports a machine-gun bra and, she says with a wink, “somesing else shoots too”), and three more slated for 2014. But it’s clearly the building of Sofia Vergara the brand that delights Sofia Vergara most these days. Ask what’s her favorite thing about Modern Family and she says, “I would be lying to you if I didn’t say the success of it. For me, it has allowed me to do the things I always wanted—my endorsements.”
Unlike a lot of actresses, Vergara doesn’t aspire to win an Oscar or a Tony. She does not long to showcase her emotional range by playing a cancer patient or a prison inmate. Indeed, the fact that her “15 minutes” has arrived as a result of her acting is a source of endless amusement to her. Raised in a prosperous family in Barranquilla, Colombia, she says, “I never thought I could act, or acting was for me. I’ve never been artistic. I always knew I was funny; I was the class clown, but I never thought to make money out of it or to be professional.”
What happened, basically, was this: Somebody got an eyeful of Vergara on the beach in a G-string when she was 17 and cast her in a Pepsi commercial (bikini, hot sand, lots of jumping) that became a national sensation. She didn’t take it too seriously—instead, she married her high school sweetheart at age 18, gave birth to her son, Manolo, and went to dental school for three years. However, the TV offers kept on coming, and the marriage fizzled out, and by her mid-20s Vergara had become a hugely popular personality in Latin America, hosting shows as her hilarious, sassy, sexpot self.
But it wasn’t until Modern Family aired in 2009 that Vergara became a worldwide phenomenon. “Even after the first episode, it was insane. People came up to me everywhere—little girls, grandmothers, everybody.”
What Modern Family’s creators understood was that Vergara’s greatest gift is being Vergara; they wrote the character of Gloria specifically for her, down to the son named Manny and the fabulously mangled English. And while Vergara is not quite as high-pitched and tempestuous as Gloria, the similarities are undeniable. “I don’t think there’s ever going to be a better part for me,” she says. “But I do think—and my son and boyfriend agree with me—that I could play a crazy psychopath. I’m not joking.”
Which, of course, brings us to Loeb—known in the tabloids as the Onion Crunch King—with whom Vergara has a famously high-drama relationship. She insists that the couple are in a good place these days, although when you ask how they met, she quips, “We started fighting from the beginning.” This was at the Sunset Tower, after the Golden Globes a few years ago. Vergara was there celebrating in her “gigantic dress,” and she and Nick “got stuck together at a table. So we started harassing each other, and then I saw him and I was like …” She pops her eyes open wide. “He’s really handsome. He’s six foot four, and he has blue eyes and a lot of black hair.” Vergara pauses. “Or it used to be black. Now it’s got a lot of white in it. Nick says all the white hair came from me.”
While their marriage plans are under wraps for now, the pair divide their time between a Manhattan apartment and one on the Wilshire Corridor in Los Angeles, which they use when Vergara is filming. “I’m very independent, so it’s been a process for me, learning to live with somebody,” she admits. “I love the apartment in L.A. because it has his-and-hers bathrooms. I’m very organized and clean, and he’s messy, so I close his door, and I don’t have to see his…mess.”
Is it ever a bit exhausting, being a bombshell 24 hours a day? She shakes her head. “No. I’m Latin; I do it no matter what. It’s automatic. I shower, do hair and makeup. For me, it’s like shaving. I don’t believe in a natural look. Lipstick brightens your face! Unless you’re Gisele Bündchen or 19, you need something,” she explains. “Most of my girlfriends are very good with it because they’re Latin, but some of the Americans, I give them lipstick like, ‘Put it on!'”
One of the most charming things about Vergara is what a complete and total girl she is. Like just a full-on, unabashed, card-carrying GIRL. She loves to dish about egg freezing and cellulite cures and tea at Bergdorf Goodman and vacations in Capri, and jewelry, both real and costume (“Today I am subtle; usually I look like a Christmas tree!”), and Hermès bags, specifically Birkins. At the moment she has five. “I tell Manolo, ‘If I don’t have enough money for your college this month, you have to sell the Birkins.’ My business manager is very traditional, Jewish guy. Every time I buy one of those, he calls me and says, ‘Sofia, it’s Craig. Did you buy this, or is it a fraud?’ I’m like, ‘Craig, listen … what would you prefer? Me popping champagne bottles and doing drugs and wasting money or buying bags? These are valuable. These, Manolo can sell!'”
Given that his mother currently makes $19 million per year, it seems unlikely that Manolo will need to sell a thing. “You know, I think what has made me successful is that I have no need to prove anything to anyone,” Vergara muses toward the end of our lunch. “There are so many actresses who stop working because they take themselves too seriously—gorgeous women, but no roles. I don’t have those insecurities; I’m very thankful that they’re casting me. Now that I’m getting more secure with acting, I’m sure I could do other things. For example, I know I could do a psychopath.” She grins and then shrugs. “But it’s not like I go to my agent and say, ‘You have to make me in Schindler’s List 2.'”

By Harper’s Bazaar

That slaylebrity smile

Colombian curves

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