Rico Rodriguez says he's "Nothing like Manny"

Rico Rodriguez told popeater.com that he is nothing like his Modern Family character Manny Delgado in real life.

The only thing they have in common, he says, is that they are both uncles. "I have five nieces and one nephew on the way," crows Rodriguez. "People always say I'm too young to be an uncle, and I'm like wait? There's an age-limit to be an uncle?"

Rico also admits that he was once a shy kid, far from the sophisticated, girl-chasing Manny. "I was probably the shyest boy known to man," he says. "I would never think about doing anything like acting, until three or four years ago, my sister was doing it. And I was like, hmmm, I might could try that."

So what did he think he'd be doing for work back then? "I thought I'd be a Nascar chef going to the moon," Rodriguez responds matter-of-fact.

Rico landed the role of Manny easily once directors told him what they had in mind. "I never thought Manny would be how he is today. Then the producers told me, 'Think Antonio Banderas in a 12-year-old kid's body,' and I said, 'Oh, okay!' I went back, and I rocked it!"

And we're sure glad he did, Manny is one of our favorite characters on TV. Though Rico says he loves each and every person he works with on the show, of course he has a special spot in his heart for his TV mom, Sofia Vergara (who plays Gloria Pritchett on the show).

"She's a really amazing lady. Sometimes I tend to teach her! She can't pronounce things. Her accent on the show is real," he laughs. "I mean it's a little over the top for the camera, but she'll say, 'Mee-chell' and I'll say, 'Mitchell!' and correct her. There are lots of words like that... And, her son just went off to college, so I think she still gets to feel motherly with me."