Fashion

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...

  • 1989

    Sofia makes her TV debut aged 17 in a Pepsi commercial, after she was spotted by a modelling scout on a beach in Colombia.

    A year later she married her childhood sweetheart Joe Gonzalez and the couple had a son, Manolo (now 22 years old).

  • 1995

    In 1993, Sofia and Joe divorced and by the mid-1990s the actress had emigrated with her son, sister and mother to Miami, to head up the travel series Fuera de Serie (" Out of the Ordinary") for Spanish-language channel Univision.

  • 1998

    She also found fame among Latino audiences co-hosting the game show A Que No Te Atreves ("I Dare You").

  • 2002

    By 2002, Sofia was scooping up minor movie roles.

    Here she is opposite Jason Lee in comedy thriller Big Trouble.

  • 2002

    Displaying an early talent to wow on the red carpet, at the premiere for the movie.

  • 2002

    At the MTV Latin America Music Awards in Miami, 2002.

    Around this time, Sofia battled and overcame thyroid cancer. "When they tell you that you have cancer, you panic," she later recalled. "Now I'm in remission, and the scar doesn't bother me. After the surgery in 2003, I had my son Photoshop a Frankenstein scar on my neck and sent it to my friends and said, 'I'm fine, I look perfect!' It was really funny."

  • 2003

    In a casual get up at an FHM party in 2003.

  • 2003

    Beautiful.

  • 2003

    Sofia's publicity shot for 2003 comedy drama Chasing Papi.

  • 2003

    The film saw Sofia in this unusual get-up.

  • 2004

    In 2004, Sofia appeared in the comedy Soul Plane.

  • 2005

    A year later Sofia was linked to Tom Cruise after the pair were spotted exiting a restaurant in Studio City, LA, together.

    But they downplayed their relationship and Tom went onto date, and marry, Katie Holmes soon after.

  • 2005

    Sofia poses for the TV series Hot Property in 2005.

  • 2006

    She's pictured on the streets of New York with her teenage son Manolo in 2006.

  • 2007

    Out and about indulging in one of her favourite past times - shopping - in New York, 2007.

  • 2007

    Sofia gets kitted out in a form-fitting dress for a party to celebrate 45 years of Valentino in Rome.

  • 2008

    Sofia shows off her enviable assets at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party (her attendance there proof of her steadily blossoming status in Hollywood).

  • 2008

    Perfectly turned out at the Montainebleau Miami Beach Resort Grand Opening Gala on Miami Beach.

  • 2009

    In 2009, Sofia turned her hand to theatre with a role as Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway.

  • September 2009

    And finally, after years of plugging away on the outskirts of stardom, Sofia finally hit the big-time playing Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in the hit ABC show Modern Family.

    She's pictured here with her on-screen husband and son, Ed O'Neill (Jay) and Rico Rodriguez (Manny).

  • 2009

    From the out, the role of temperamental, passionate Gloria gave Sofia plenty of fun material to get her teeth into.

  • 2009

    And she quickly became a feature on the red carpet too, in a series of jaw-dropping gowns.

    Here she is at the 2009 American Music Awards in LA.

  • 2010

    Flaunting a show-stopping silk blue gown by Caroline Herrera at the Golden Globes in 2010.

  • 2010

    Looking fab at the film screening for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in June 2010.

  • 2010

    Around this time, Sofia started dating Florida-based businessman Nick Loeb, heir to the New York Loeb banking fortune.

    Nick was badly injured in a car accident soon after they began dating, in an incident that Sofia later credited for bringing them closer together very quickly.

  • 2010

    Meanwhile, the Modern Family awards started flowing, as the offbeat comedy show struck a chord with critics and audiences alike.

    Here's Sofia with co-star Ed O'Neill at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2010.

  • 2011

    ... And cosying up for a photo with c0-stars Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland in 2011, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

  • 2011

    "Manny" gets a kiss from Sofia as the cast pick up the gong for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the 2011 SAGs.

  • 2011

    Wowing the crowds in a silk satin Vera Wang number at the Golden Globes Instyle magazine after-party in 2011.

  • 2011

    This Zuhair Murad number makes the most of Sofia's beautiful figure at the 2011 Oscars.

  • 2011

    By this stage, the endorsement offers were flowing for Sofia and her Modern Family co-stars.

    The actress is pictured here filming a commercial for Pepsi on the beach in Santa Monica (she co-starred with David Beckham in the ads).

  • 2011

    Naturally, she looked incredible.

  • 2011

    Behind the scenes with Sofia, as shoots the campaign for her Kmart clothing line in June 2011.

  • 2011

    Creating a stir in a strapless Carolina Herrera gown at the 2011 Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York.

  • 2011

    Sofia joins her on-screen son Rico to celebrate their colleague Ed O'Neill being honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in August 2011.

  • 2011

    Coral is a colour that sits beautifully on Sofia, who wore Vera Wang to the 2011 Emmys in LA.

  • 2012

    And it's Vera Wang once again as Sofia hits the 2012 Golden Globes, looking pitch-perfect in a blue mermaid tail creation.

  • 2012

    She chooses vibrant Marchesa for the 2012 SAG awards.

  • 2012

    Marchesa is once again the flavour of the moment as Sofia hits the Costume Institute Gala Benefit in May 2012, in a beautiful beaded peplum affair.

  • 2012

    Sofia out and about with her son Manolo in New York in June 2012.

  • 2012

    Showcasing the Zuhair Murad signature mermaid silhouette at the 2012 Emmys.

  • 2012

    Once again, the Modern Family cast celebrate a series of wins, including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

  • 2012/13

    Sofia toasts in the New Year at a frankly brilliant-looking party on Delano South Beach, Miami.

  • 2013

    January 2013 brought with it yet more success for the Modern Family crew.

    Here they are celebrating their win for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the SAGs.

  • 2013

    Sofia wearing Herve Leroux at the CFDA Fashion Awards in June 2013.

  • June 2013

    She's apparently not so impressed with her waxwork incarnation...

  • 2013

    Wearing Vera Wang at the 2013 Emmys.

  • 2013

    The cast look happy on the back of yet more Emmy wins (their mantelpieces are no doubt groaning with awards by this point).

  • 2014

    Sofia cuddles up to her man Nick Loeb at a Golden Globes afterparty in Los Angeles in January this year.

    The couple dated for four years but split up in May. "We have [been] having too many problems with figuring out how to spend time together and [because] of my work and now his, it's been getting worse and worse, not fun anymore,"Sofia said at the time.

  • 2014

    Looking sensational in a nude Roberto Cavalli number for the 2014 Oscars.

  • 2014

    Sofia pictured with her son Manolo and his girlfriend outside Good Morning Americain New York (imagine having Sofia as your boyfriend's mum!)

  • 2014

    Sofia wears Romona Keveza for the White House Correspondent's Association Gala Dinner in May.

  • 2014

    Sofia with her new love interest, American actor Joe Manganiello, at a pre-Emmys party in Beverly Hills last month.

  • 2014

    Sofia chose Roberto Cavalli for last month's Emmys appearance.

  • 2014

    And again, the cast gathered together to celebrate a win for Outstanding Comedy Series.

    Long may Sofia and co. reign on the red carpet - and our TV screens... !

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