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What a giant year it has been for Sofia Vergara: a third Emmy nomination for her and ABC’s two-time-winning comedy series Modern Family, that much-publicized raise for her and her fellow castmembers, a Kmart clothing line and numerous endorsement deals. The 40-year-old Colombian actress, who started as a model and TV host, also recently was named the top-earning actress on television.
“I never thought I could make money and support my family by being funny,” says Vergara.
Here, she shares her thoughts on playing Gloria as an expectant mother, why she never tires of talking about her looks and how she shows off to her aspiring-director son.
The Hollywood Reporter: Are you excited for Gloria to be pregnant in season four?
Sofia Vergara: Not really. (Laughs.) It’s easier when there aren’t babies on set. Rico [Rodriguez] and Ed [O’Neill] and I work so fast together; we know one another so well that a baby will change that.
THR: How much of you is in Gloria’s personality and vice versa?
Vergara: The writers are amazing. They write things for her that I wouldn’t even think about. There’s a lot of me, too: She’s Colombian, she has an accent, she’s an immigrant, she has a baby from a previous marriage. There is a lot of me and the women in my family. When I read a scene, I think, “What would my aunt or my mother do in this situation?”
THR: How tired do you get with so much attention placed on your appearance?
Vergara: I think that would be ungrateful if I were upset because I’m seen as attractive or sexy. That’s opened so many doors for me in my life. I’m 40 years old, and I love that people still think of me as sexy and as hot. It’s very flattering.
THR: Do you feel being Latina pigeonholes you as an actor?
Vergara: I don’t mind. I appreciate every role that I get. I cannot hide my accent; I can’t hide my looks. I don’t want to apologize for them. Of course, maybe in the future I can try other roles. I wouldn’t mind. I think people just look at me on the TV and they just start thinking about laughing. I was in New Year’s Eve and realized the moment I came onscreen, people were already laughing. But I hadn’t said anything yet!
THR: I heard you got started in this business through a Pepsi commercial as a teenager.
Vergara: Yes, I did a commercial, and it became a very big deal in the Latin market — and from there I started being asked to be in movies and shows. But I was in my senior year of high school, so I didn’t do anything else after that for two years.
THR: How strange is it to be back doing Pepsi commercials all these years later?
Vergara: Twenty-two years later! I love it. When I decide to do anything, like CoverGirl or Kmart or Pepsi, it has to be something I believe in, something that I know about, something that I can talk about. I just don’t want to do it for the money. It has to be something that is part of my life.
THR: Your Modern Family character, and even your ads for Kmart, have a positive, be-yourself vibe. Is there anything that gets you really mad?
Vergara: Oh yes, things get me mad. But the thing is, I get mad, and then I turn around and I forget. When I have a new person working with me or a new boyfriend, they have to adjust in the beginning. I can scream and I get really angry, and then I’ll turn around and go to the bathroom, wash my hands and then come out and go, “OK, we’re going to lunch?” I get mad in the moment, but I don’t hold a grudge.
THR: Does your son, Manolo Gonzalez, who’s an aspiring director, give you feedback on your acting?
Vergara: Yes, of course! When Modern Family started, he was still living with me. He would help me learn lines for auditions and get so frustrated. He’d say, frustratedly: “You’re never going to get anything. Concentrate!” So now, when I’m nominated for anything or when the show is nominated, I always rub it in his face.
Modern Family returns at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, on ABC.
Email: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Beccamford
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