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Sofia Vergara: the Modern Family star's career and style evolution

She's the Colombian actress who's taken LA by storm with her hilarious, larger-than-life portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Emmy awarding-winning series Modern Family. As Sofia Vergara is named TV's highest earning actress for the third year running, we take a closer look at one of the small screen's brightest stars.

With boatloads of charm and a knockout figure, it's little surprise that Sofia found fame early - she started modelling aged 17 in ads for Pepsi. Soon after she gave birth to her son Manolo and moved to the US in the mid-1990s to front up a series of Spanish-language TV shows.

Her combination of sultry good looks and confidence carried echoes of a modern-day Sophia Loren and soon led to larger roles, but it was not until Modern Family hit our screens in 2009 that she really made the big time. Her vivacious, ballsy screen presence and irresistibly sexy accent met their target audience, in a role that Sofia was born to play.

A string of awards and accolades followed and the 42-year-old actress culminated on her success with a series of lucrative endorsements with the likes of Diet Pepsi (where she appeared in ads alongside David Beckham), CoverGirl and Head & Shoulders, as well as a clothing line for Kmart. Forbes estimated that she brought in $37 million (£23 million) last year, a fortune that she spends on luxuries such as Hermès Birkin handbags.

"I love making money. I really love it!" she declares - but despite her exuberance, she hasn't always had it easy. Sofia has battled thyroid cancer in the past, as well as suffering divorce, the death of her elder brother, who was murdered in Colombia in 1998, and the devastating drug addiction of her younger brother. "With so many bad things happening, it creates a tough skin… You just have to take a deep breath and keep on going," she says.

Come take a look at the life and times of Sofia so far, from her early screen appearances and dalliance with Tom Cruise, to her breakthrough in Modern Family, high-profile relationships with the likes of Nick Loeb and Joe Manganiello, and her spirited red carpet appearances in gorgeous gowns from Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and more. This is a lady who knows how to embrace life, no matter what it throws at her...

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