Golden Globe nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series Sofia Vergara has come a long way from dentistry school! The 39-year-old actress may be known for her hilarious interpretation of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC’s runaway hit sitcom Modern Family, but she got her start when a modeling agent spotted her on the beach in her native Colombia when she was just two semesters short of graduating and becoming a dentist. Before she knew it she was hosting Univision’s travel show Fuera de Serie, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Here is the evolution of Sofia Vergara’s career:
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Fuera de Serie
From 1995-1999, Vergara co-hosted Univision’s Fuera de Serie alongside Fernando Fiore. The travel show sent her all around the world and made her a star across Latin America. It also exposed her to the American audience for the first time, through local Univision affiliates. This lead to a series of modeling gigs and a few swimsuit calendars that sold incredibly well.
As so many Latinas have before, Vergara got her big break in 2002, playing (you guessed it!) a housekeeper. As Nina, Vergara “starred” opposite Tim Allen and Rene Russo in the comedy Big Trouble as their maid and Jason Lee’s love interest.
In 2003, Vergara joined fellow Latina actresses Roselyn Sanchez and Jaci Velasquez for Chasing Papi. The big screen comedy (marketed specifically to Latinos) followed the women as they try to catch the man who has been dating all of them at once. As Cici, Vergara nails her role as a cocktail waitress from Miami with big dreams and shows the first glimmer of her considerable comedic chops.
Continuing her string of comedies, Vergara landed the role of sexy stewardess Blanca in Jesse Tererro’s big screen debut Soul Plane in 2004. Though the movie was a critical and box office flop, it did give Sofia exposure to a whole new audience in the United States.
Sofia got serious for John Singleton’s 2005 drama, Four Brothers. She played the girlfriend of one of the brothers (Tyrese Gibson) who become involved in a complicated and violent mess after their mother is murdered. Although her role is not huge, it is pivotal to the plot and Vergara handled the pressure like a pro, though she admitted to feeling a bit intimated at first.
Amas de Casa Desesperadas
In 2007, Sofia took on the role of a Desperate Housewife for the Colombian adaptation of the hit American series. She plays the equivalent of the Mary Alice Young character, the mostly off-screen voice of the deceased housewife who narrates the show.
The Knights of Prosperity
Vergara also landed her first big role on TV as Esperanza Villalobos on the ABC comedy The Knights of Prosperity in 2007. The show centered on a group of misfits who decide to rob celebrities. The group tried and fails to rob Mick Jagger, Kelly Ripa and Ray Romano and the he show was unceremoniously cancelled after just one season.
Fuego en la Sangre
In 2008, Vergara made a series of guest appearances on the Mexican soap opera Fuego en la Sangre, which won The Best Telenovela of the Year prize at the Premios TVyNovelas in 2009. Fuego's premiere was the highest-rated in Univision history at the time. Sofia guest starred as Leonora Castañeda on the soap.
Meet the Browns
Tyler Perry discovered an unexpected muse in Sofia Vergara when he cast her in his 2008 comedy, Meet the Browns. Cast opposite Oscar nominee Angela Basset as her best friend Cheryl, Vergara sufficiently impressed Perry with her charm and acting skill.
Madea Goes to Jail
Vergara worked her magic on Tyler Perry! In 2009, he cast her in his hit comedy Madea Goes to Jail as T.T.—Madea’s totally psychotic cellmate, who’s been jailed for serial murder. The hysterical dynamic between Perry and Vergara saves the day for this film.