Sofía Vergara tells Vanity Fair contributing editor Lili Anolik she almost didn’t end up with fiancé Joe Manganiello for one reason: he was just too good-looking. “The day that I sent the press release [announcing the breakup with a different fiancé, Nick Loeb], Joe immediately contacted Jesse Tyler Ferguson [Modern Family’s Mitchell Pritchett], like, Please, please, please tell her I want her number. And I’m like, Jesse, no, he’s too handsome,” Vergara tells Anolik. “Then, after two days of Jesse trying to convince me, I’m like, O.K., give him my number. I’m thinking, I’m in New Orleans shooting, and he’s in L.A. Nothing’s going to happen. But we started talking a lot, and then he showed up in New Orleans. Since then we’ve been inseparable. There’s nothing about him I’d change other than the fact that he’s four years younger than me [he’s 38 to her 42].”
The story is accompanied by a sexy photo shoot by contributing photographer Annie Leibovitz that plays up Vergara’s role as what Anolik calls “hubba-hubba incarnate.” In a video interview on VF.com, Vergara says of working with Leibovitz, “It’s amazing when you work with somebody that you trust so much. She told me things that maybe with other photographers I would have felt like, What? No bra?! Like what? With that dog on top of me?! Like here I was just doing it because I knew she was going to take care of me.”
Vergara also talks about transitioning from fame in the Spanish-speaking entertainment world to international superstardom, telling Anolik she decided to turn the very traits that many Hollywood insiders would consider liabilities into gold. She says, “I hired the speech coach, and you have to work so much. It’s exhausting. It’s also boring. And I have a bad ear, you know? I’ve been in this country for 20-something years and I still sound like this . . . So I was going to auditions and the only thing I could focus on was the position of the tongue. I was not acting. And then I thought, If I can’t get a job with my accent, this is not a job for me.”
Anolik finds that Vergara is that rare breed of sex symbol: unapologetic and effortless. She tells Anolik, “Sometimes you read in the press like, oh, Sofía is wearing again the same shape dress, and I want to answer them and say, What the fuck do you want me to wear? Obviously there’s a reason why that’s what I go for.” She answers critics who call her Modern Family character, Gloria Pritchett, a stereotype: “If Gloria is a stereotype, so what? Who wouldn’t want to be Gloria?”
She is also charmingly candid when it comes to her va-va-voom figure: “My boobs are, like, huge.” She gives a representation of said hugeness with her hands. “My whole life, buying a bra was a nightmare. What I used to do when I moved to L.A., I found places like Frederick’s of Hollywood that make bras for [strippers].” She adds, “Believe me, I wish I had fake boobs. I lay down and they completely go down like all the way, like here.” Another representation with her hands. “It’s not fun.”
But if Vergara’s got a bod for sin, she’s got a head for business. In the mid-90s, she established Latin World Entertainment (LatinWE) with manager Luis Balaguer to compete with Univision’s hold on talent management. (In other words, Anolik writes, Vergara got rich “by exploiting the people who exploited her people.”) “It was a scary time,” says Balaguer of the company’s rocky start. “We camped out in the parking lot and signed everyone who walked in and out the door.” The refusal to back down or off worked. Says Fernando Fiore, her co-star on Fuera de Serie, a travel show, “Univision didn’t want to deal with us, but now they had to deal with us. LatinWE changed things. We paved the way for those younger. What [Charlie] Chaplin and [Douglas] Fairbanks did for the general talent in the 20s or whenever, we did for the Spanish-speaking talent in the 90s. We were pioneers.” It’s since grown to become a licensing, marketing, production, and new-media juggernaut, and that’s how Sofía hit, as she says, “the jackpot.”
The May issue of Vanity Fair will be available in New York and Los Angeles on Thursday, April 9, and on the iPhone, Kindle, and other devices on Wednesday, April 8. The magazine will be on national newsstands and available in an audio edition Tuesday, April 14.