The comedic actress gets candid about mastering confidence and enjoying her hard-earned success.
To call Sofia Vergara successful is an understatement. Seriously, looking at her long list of accomplishments makes you wish there were a word bigger than that to describe her.
Think about it: At a time when it is considered a huge win if a television series lasts for three or four seasons, Sofia is heading into her 10th season playing Gloria on the top-rated sitcom Modern Family. Not only that, she’s regularly listed as one of TV’s highest-paid women. Oh, and Sofia isn’t just killing it in the entertainment industry. She’s a partner in two tech companies: a subscription, size-inclusive underwear business called EBY; and Raze, a Latin American digital media and social platform. The 46-year-old has also turned herself into a bit of a beauty mogul, with four popular fragrances and a great gig as a brand ambassador for Head & Shoulders under her belt.
Somehow, with all this going on, Sofia has also managed to take care of her personal life. She’s been married to fellow actor Joe Manganiello, 41, for nearly three years, and they both radiate happiness together. Follow her on Instagram and it’s clear that she has a close bond with her 27-year-old son, Manolo.
So what’s the secret to all her success? We asked that exact question when we sat down with her after her Health cover shoot in Los Angeles.
“I don’t sit crying about something—a job I don’t get or a deal that doesn’t go through,” says the actress, lounging on a couch and wearing a blue-and- white-striped off-the-shoulder dress and some serious wedges. “Like, That’s it, move on, try to find something else... Because if you don’t, you lose time crying about it. So let’s not lose time!”
It makes sense. By keeping her eye on the prize and not dwelling, Sofia has managed to craft a career that has longevity and to nurture other life interests (like her beauty obsession and family!). Here, Sofia shares more life lessons, plus reveals her top skin-care tips and the secret to her steamy marriage.
As Modern Family heads into its 10th season, what’s different about playing Gloria now?
Well, of course it gets easier and easier, because you kind of become that person. Like, I already know how she’s gonna react to things. But it’s always fun. You know how you hear that some actors get bored of playing a character for so long? To me, it’s super exciting. There is never a dull moment on set.
Who’s your best pal behind the scenes?
Ed [O’Neill, who plays Gloria’s husband, Jay], because I’m in every scene with him—we’ve created this great bond in the past nine years. We know each other and we don’t annoy each other—we haven’t had one single problem in nine years, I think! We talk about my kid and his kids—he has even younger kids than I do, which I think is super funny. But also Ed is an old-timer, and he has these fascinating stories about Hollywood. It’s a lot of fun to hear him talk.
Is there anything you have taken from Gloria?
Well, I think that she has taken more from me—from my life, from my family, and the way that I live my life. But of course, she’s a lot better than me in how intense she is with her family, and how completely dedicated she is in making the family work. She’s a character—she’s fake, so she’s better! [Laughs]
Sofia's wearing: Mother Denim jacket (motherdenim.com for similar)
You’re the face of our Beauty Issue. What do you do every day to take care of your skin?
I used to do masks and scrubs and rubs and things—I mean, I’m crazy about products—but I’ve had to simplify as I’ve gotten older. I have rosacea—it’s redness and sensitivity. If you put on too much stuff, there is irritation, so I have to keep it very simple. I do the retinol thing that everybody does, but I have to do it in moderation. And I do vitamin C, also in moderation. But I still try [lots of different products] on my neck and my chest.
Can you walk us through your a.m. and p.m. skin prep?
I take my makeup off every night with a sponge—like a little soft, nonabrasive sea sponge that I change once a week—and then I use a mild soap. If I’m like, “Oh, I’m free for a week,” I do a retinol treatment more aggressively. But if I cannot be red the next day, I just put moisturizer on. After I wash at night, I’ve been using a calendula oil—it’s good for sensitive skin and has really been calming my skin. It’s really oily and nice, so I put it everywhere. During the day, I can’t use oil, because I am at work and I need the makeup to last longer. For day, I always put on sunblock. If I’m gonna be shooting outside, it’s a stronger one, and if I’m gonna be inside, it’s just an SPF 15.
Is there anything you eat or drink for beauty from the inside out?
I eat a lot of vegetables, and I eat blueberries, and I drink green tea. And I add, like, a spoon of powdered collagen to chamomile tea at night—I don’t know what that does [laughs] but I do it! And I try to drink lots of water.
What is the best tip you’ve picked up from a makeup artist?
The best advice I got was from the first makeup artist I started working with at Univision. She taught me that I should only wear colors that make me look good, you know? That I shouldn’t be a victim of fashion. She was like, “Just always stick to the colors that are good for you, and for the shape of your eye.” So for 40 years, I’ve been doing the same makeup! I have warm skin, so I look good with browns, and golds, and bronze; I don’t look good with grays or pinks.
And what about your hair? How do you keep it healthy?
My hair is oily, and by the end of the day, it is completely limp—but I think that’s what has helped it not break and stay healthy. I don’t use a lot of product, because my hair’s fine. The less I use, the better, and the curl stays longer.
Moving on to your husband—the world finds him sexy, but as someone who really knows him, what do you find sexy about him?
He’s fit and he’s good-looking and everything, but he is very not into it—like, he doesn’t really know how handsome and big he is. He works out for health and for strength, not for a six-pack. You never hear him talking about stuff like that. It’s all about health and strength.
So he’s not like his Magic Mike character, working his sexy side?
No! And his beauty routine is very simple: It’s a shower and combing his hair, and that’s it. I mean, he’ll get a sunburn, so I have to harass him and follow him around the house to put a little bit of cream on—it’s like I was putting poop in his face! You know? He is just a true guy.
Are you into working out?
It is not one of my favorite things to do—but I do it because of my profession, and I want to stay healthy. The one thing that I have done that really has made a difference in my body is lifting weights. Not crazy weights. But, you know, like five pounds, seven pounds, 10 pounds. Twelve pounds is the maximum I can do. It keeps your muscles tight, and your skin tighter to you. I’ve done Pilates and spinning, and I’ve tried all sorts of things—and they’re great.
What is the best thing you do for your emotional health?
After working so many years, I think the most helpful thing has been realizing that you have to enjoy your work. It’s not worth it to be around people who are sucking the energy out of you or who are creating problems. At the beginning of your career, you have to do what you have to do—but now I don’t have to. I don’t need to sacrifice my sanity, or time with my family, if I’m having a horrible time. That’s one of the good things about [reaching a certain level of] achievement—you can make those decisions.
You are routinely listed as one of the highest-earning actresses on TV. How does that feel?
Well, it’s very rewarding. I’m 46 and I’ve been working for almost 30 years. So being able to do something that I love in the entertainment business, and on top of that being able to make money? It’s been a wonderful experience. It has not been easy. It’s been a lot of work, but it makes you feel rewarded for all the sacrifices—like missing my son’s birthday here and there and not being able to be present all the time for him.
What would you say is the best advice for other women who want to become power players?
I think that it’s important to show that you’re confident—even when you don’t know what you’re doing, you know? The way you carry yourself is very important. There’s nothing worse than somebody who feels insecure, who talks like she’s not supposed to be there. And in a business like mine, it’s very easy to do it, because we’re not [performing] brain surgery. I can’t walk into a doctor’s operating room just with confidence! [Laughs] But in the entertainment business, you can. So you just take a deep breath and do your best.
Is there something specific that you do before you walk into a meeting to up your confidence?
No—actually, the less I think about it, the better. Sometimes people think too much about it. You hype yourself up, or you get into your head too much. So it’s better [if you] don’t think too much about it.
What career lesson would you impart to your younger self?
Plan for the future and have goals—but don’t go too crazy, you know? I don’t believe in being obsessed with “I need to do this.” Because then, along the way, you’re not living! You’re just working and obsessing. So set goals and everything, but also realize that life might not happen the way you think it will. Be ready to adapt. I think the people who survive are the people who learn to adapt.
When your show ends, what do you want to do next in your career?
I’m trying to figure out new projects and developing ideas. We are working on a denim line for Walmart. And also, I’m trying to get ready for the end of Modern Family, which is going to be, apparently, in one year!
That’s the rumor—so, if Modern Family does wrap up, is there anything you’d love to take from set?
There’s one vase that I’m always next to because I’m always at this counter in the kitchen where it sits. And it’s not even a pretty vase, but I think that’s what I wanna take. ’Cause if you see, like, a scene of me, I’m always next to that stupid vase!
Would you do more Modern Family?
Oh yeah, definitely! I mean, I don’t understand why it can’t be like Law & Order. That would be a dream for me, to keep doing this forever.
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Styling by Thomas Kikis for The Wall Group. Hair by Kylee Heath for Starworks Artists using & Other Stories. Makeup by Kayleen McAdams for Starworks Artists using Chanel Palette Essentielle. Manicure by Emi Kudo at Opus Beauty using Chanel Le Vernis. Prop Stylist Charlotte Malmlo.