“I’m sorry I’m late, it’s that I just woke up!” laughs Sofia Vergara, at eleven-thirty on a Sunday morning in Los Angeles. “We worked until very late last night,” says the 39-year-old in the rolling Colombian accent we’ve come to love from her character, Gloria, on “Modern Family.”
About the late thing? We’ll forgive her, because this is one busy woman. Not only was she working on a shoot for CoverGirl (she is their new spokesperson), but she also just launched her Sofia Vergara for Kmart fashion line for women of all sizes. And she’s in not one but two new movies (“Happy Feet Two” and “New Year’s Eve”), while filming her Emmy-winning ABC show. Today, the seriously funny actress — who is mom to her own “Manny,” 20-year-old son, Manolo — talks about everything from dreading workouts to the plastic surgery she’s so glad she decided not to get.
Q: The tagline of your fashion line is “Work what you got.” How can we work what we’ve got?A: Everybody has something. Somebody has a good pair of legs, even though her midsection is a little chunky. So then you can wear tights with miniskirts or you wear tight leggings. And if you have nice cleavage, wear things that enhance that.
Q: Was there a time you didn’t love how you looked?A: Oh, of course! Not everybody’s confident their whole life. For a long time, I thought that my boobs were too big and I was, like, 14 years old, and I already had these huge boobs. I was very skinny also. And now that I’m almost 40 — we always have our insecurities as women. We’re never happy!
Q: Can you remember the day you started realizing, “Wait a minute, I think I’ve got it going on!”A: In Latin America we do learn to be more comfortable with our bodies. Women are not shy to be in a bathing suit, in a G-string. But I also did a TV commercial for Pepsi when I was 17 on the beach in a bathing suit. And after that, everybody was like, “Oh my god, that body.” And you know, you start to feel a little bit more confident if you have people thinking that you’re so fabulous! (Laughs)
Q: I guess it helps to have a cheerleading squad.A: Of course, of course! When I moved to America, I was more voluptuous, and I felt a little different. And one time, years ago, I remember my publicist (at the time) told me, “I think you should just reduce your boobs because nobody’s going to take you seriously here.” My mother almost had a heart attack. She was like, “God is going to punish you! You can’t cut your boobs!” I don’t regret not doing it, because now it’s become a big part of Gloria.
Q: What made you realize, “I’m going to keep my body the way it is”?A: My mother screaming at me that God was gonna punish me — what else do you want! (Laughing)
Q: Oh, right, that would do it! Are you anti–plastic surgery in general?A: I’m not against it at all. But I think that you should go into it more thinking that you want to look beautiful than trying to look young. Because I don’t really think that plastic surgery can make you look young. It can make you look prettier, but if you go with the mentality of being young, I think that’s where accidents can happen.
Q: You’re a natural blonde, right?A: Yeah, about five years ago I was auditioning with this body and the attitude of a Latin woman, and it didn’t match the stereotype of the Latin women in Hollywood. I made it dark for a screen test and everybody really liked it. They didn’t give me the movie, but I kept the hair color!
Q: Do you ever feel like people stereotype you?A: Oh yeah, of course. But I don’t mind it. I mean, it is the reality. I am a Latin woman: I’m voluptuous, I’m loud, I’m exactly what a Latin woman is (laughs). I mean, what am I going to go against it? No. I don’t think there’s anything bad in being a Latin woman. What is it? That we are loud, that we are passionate, that we are voluptuous? I prefer to be called that than, “You’re boring; you have a flat ass!” (Laughs)
Q: Do you have any stay-gorgeous tricks that aren’t from a bottle?A: My mother always told me to make the last water in your shower really cold. I’ve always done it.
Q: How are you most healthy? And not so healthy?A: I don’t smoke, I’ve never done drugs. I think the most unhealthy thing is that I’m obsessed with dessert. And it’s verrry hard for me not to eat it at least once a day.
Q: What are your favorites?A: All of ’em. I mean, I cannot … it’s like you saying, “Which one of your kids is your favorite?” I can’t do that! Oh … God … (her voice is wavering like it’s Sophie’s Choice) it’s so difficult. Tiramisu maybe? Or just a plain vanilla cake that’s homemade and warm and just out of the oven? I love that.
Q: You beat thyroid cancer in 2000. How does going through a health scare at such a young age change you?A: It changes your priorities. It’s a good thing when it comes out with a happy ending because it does make you appreciate things more. But, you know, you live your life as healthy as you can. I was twentysomething and I had never smoked, I hadn’t eaten red meat in years, so why did I have a cancer? No one knows.
Q: What’s your biggest health regret?A: You know what I wish? My face is so much better, because I’ve been putting sunblock since I was young on my face. Nobody ever told me that I needed to put it in my décolletage! And so it is more sun-damaged than my face. It wouldn’t have been difficult to put a little bit there.
Q: Is it true you’re not a fan of gyms?A: Just working out! (Laughs) It’s paaaaaainful. I hired Gunnar Peterson, which is really fun. Because I mean, if I go alone, I’ll sabotage myself. I’ll do half of the workout. So I need somebody to force me to do it.
Q: Do you complain the whole time or do you just shut up and do it?A: Ohhh, the whooooole time! I cry, I get on the floor, I’m like, “I’m gonna throw up, enough!” I mean, he doesn’t care.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to work out if you’re too tired?A: Oh my God, I look at myself in the mirror. And I’m like, I’m almost 40 years old and I need to go!
Q: So seeing your face in the mirror is just inspiration enough?A: No, I’m more looking at my ass! (Laughs) Or my legs, not my face!
Q: What is your favorite way to de-stress?A: To be with my son and my boyfriend (Nick Loeb), just doing nothing. And I love lunches with my friends — just talking and gossiping.