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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

Sofia Vergara's American 'Modern Family'

The actress is a scene stealer in 'Modern Family,' in which the native Colombian plays the wife of Ed O'Neill.

December 06, 2009|By Maria Elena Fernandez
  • Sofia Vergara is a scene stealer in ABC's "Modern Family," in which the native Colombian plays the wife of Ed O'Neill's character.
Sofia Vergara is a scene stealer in ABC's "Modern Family,"… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

Sofia Vergara, the Colombian former Univision TV host who became famous in Latin America for her flirty personality, voluptuous physique and Latin lovers, never intended to be a scene-stealing funny girl on American TV. But that's exactly what she is on ABC's new hit comedy "Modern Family."


FOR THE RECORD:
Sofia Vergara: A photo caption in Sunday's Calendar section with The Sunday Conversation column, in which Sofia Vergara from the ABC comedy "Modern Family" was interviewed, misspelled her first name as Sonia. —

How do you like pretending to be married to Ed O'Neill?

That was a surprise. I thought people were going to hate my character because, definitely, if this girl is with this guy, it's for money, but then you realize, the characters are perfect for each other.

Were you drawn to comedy from the beginning?

I've always been the class clown in my school. I love making people laugh. So it was a natural thing. It was obvious they were not going to cast me in "Schindler's List 2."

Beautiful women aren't usually associated with being funny.

It was something I had different from other actresses, so they kept pushing for me.

Do they let you improvise on the show?

They can't control me! Now, what's happening is they're getting my rhythm, my language and my mistakes, but sometimes they'll write something and it's impossible for me to say it because I have a very strong and bad accent. I don't even ask. I just do it the way I know I can say it.

But you do make your accent stronger on the show.

Yes, now I don't even know what my accent is.

You also darken your hair.

I started auditioning here and I had the accent, the body and the attitude for the Latin woman, but they don't associate "blond" with us. I went for a screen test, and they asked me to come with dark hair. I thought it looked better because I have darker eyebrows. So now they believe me that I'm Latin. [Laughs] I always joke that if they throw me in a chlorine pool, all my Latin is going away -- my hair and my self-tanner!

Your son will be going to college soon. That will be hard, huh?

It's going to be horrible. I was 19 when I had him. I literally left my family and got married, had my son, so I've never been alone. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm always after him, "What are you doing? Where are you going?"

I'm sure he likes that.

Yeah, whatever. He was so excited when I learned to text because he doesn't have to deal with me really on the phone in front of his friends.

Has your son brought any girls home?

Yeah, he has a girlfriend.

I can't imagine you being my boyfriend's mother.

No, but I'm not like this at home. I've got no makeup. I'm in sweat pants.

But you have quite a website.

I can't help it! You know, when we go out together, I look like a cougar. I don't grab him and hug him anymore because now people just think, "Look at that old, degenerate lady." But it was fantastic to have a son so young.

And you still have many years ahead to enjoy the Luis Miguels and Enrique Iglesiases of the world.

Honey, been there, done that. [Laughs]

Are you still willing to date celebrities?

The problem is that it's not like I look for them. Those are the ones I meet when I go to events.

Did the producers name your character's son Manny after your son?

Yeah, they tried to make the character like me. I have a great time on set. I see how everyone looks at me, "This woman is crazy." What I eat, how I talk, how I fight on the phone. You think you're normal, but then you go work with Americans and they're like "What is this?"

To them, it sounds like you're fighting. But you're actually very happy.

You're so right. Look at us here. We're in the corner cackling loud and everyone's looking at us. When I came to L.A., people started telling me I had to lose some weight. No one has ever told me in my life that I'm fat. Or that my breasts were too big! When I told my mother that my reps want me to get a reduction, she went crazy. "God is going to punish you if you cut your [breasts]."

There's no shortage of large breasts in this town.

But it's different because they're fake, so they're hard and they stay up. Mine are natural, so they go here and they go there and there's no dress that picks them up! When they told me to lose weight, I was like, are they playing a joke on me? I've always been known for my body! . . . . The thing is I did lose a little weight because I understand that standing next to the stick figures, I don't look as good in pictures. My friend says that the other actresses look better than me on TV because they're skinny. And I'm like, "Yeah, but I look better naked!"

maria.elena.fernandez@latimes.com

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