Sofía Margarita Vergara (born July 10, 1972) is a Colombian actress, model, and entrepreneur. Vergara was already rather well-known in North America from her modeling work, and her first notable acting job in English was in the movie Chasing Papi. She currently stars on the ABC sitcom Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. Vergara was born in Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia. Her mother, Margarita Vergara Dávila de Vergara, is a homemaker, and her father, Julio Enrique Vergara Robayo, produced cattle for the meat industry. "Toti" was the nickname given to Vergara by her five brothers and sisters and many cousins, including television news anchor and reporter Carlos Vergara. She grew up in her hometown of Barranquilla and was raised as a devout Catholic in a well-off family, attending a private bilingual Spanish/English school. Vergara was married at the age of 18 to her childhood sweetheart, and she gave birth to her son Manolo Gonzalez-Ripoll Vergara September 16, 1992 at the age of 20. After her divorce, Vergara studied pre-dentistry at a university in Colombia for three years. Then, many opportunities arose to work in modeling and in show business, and Vergara decided to pursue these in Latin America, leaving her two semesters shy of graduating from dental school. Soon she decided to move to Miami, Florida, to take advantage of opportunities and to move away from unrest in Colombia (her older brother had been murdered in 1998 during an attempt to kidnap him that went awry). She brought her son, mother and sister with her. In 2002, Vergara was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer. Her sister Sandra is a movie and television actress. Vergara was discovered by a photographer while walking on a Colombian beach. Soon she was presented with attractive offers in modeling and television work, and she considered accepting them. Having been raised rather conservatively and religiously, this was confusing at first. According to an article in the January 2002 issue of Maxim, Vergara was "apprehensive about doing her first television commercial—until her Catholic schoolteachers gave her their personal permission to take the assignment." Vergara made her first appearance as a performer at the age of 17 in a Pepsi commercial that was widely broadcast in Latin America. In order to support her son, mother, and younger siblings who needed her financial support in the absence of her father, who had left the family, Vergara dropped out of college to earn an income.
Vergara moved to Bogotá Colombia, at the age of 20, where she worked as a model on the runway and on television. From 1995 to 1999, she was co-host with Fernando Fiore on Fuera de Serie ("Out of the Ordinary" or "Over-the-Top"), a travel series that sent her to exotic places around the world. It was telecast on the international Univision Spanish-language television network, and it made her a star in the Latin American market. It also gave Vergara television exposure in the United States via the Univision stations there. She co-hosted the Univision show A que no te atreves ("I Dare You"). She appeared as a guest star in the season-four opening of the HBO series Entourage.
Besides runway and catalog modeling work, Vergara did independent projects. She was photographed for posters and swimsuit calendars in 1998, 2000, and 2002.
Vergara is 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in) tall, and she has naturally blonde hair (for movies and television, she is sometimes asked to color it brunette to make her look more stereotypically Latina). Vergara was under an exclusive television contract with Univision for several years, and after it expired she accepted a role with the ABC network in the United States. Vergara appeared on the ABC situation comedies Hot Properties and The Knights of Prosperity. She currently stars on the ABC sitcom Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, of which she is a current nominee for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Vergara plays Alicia Oviedo in the television show Amas de Casa Desesperadas, the Colombian version of Desperate Housewives. Her character is essentially the Colombian counterpart to the Mary Alice Young character in the American show. She also appeared on the ABC drama Dirty Sexy Money as Jeremy Darling's love interest. Vergara has made guest appearances in the Mexican telenovela Fuego En La Sangre.
In 2008, Vergara was 62 on Maxim magazine's "Hot 100" list. In 2009, Vergara had a five-week stint on Broadway as "Mama" Morton in the revival of Chicago.