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Indulging in classic American Films is a common interest shared amongst those who desire to be on the other side of the screen. These classic movies would propagate the idea of the “American Dream,” where anyone who dared to dream big enough could accomplish whatever they pleased. Even before the 1930s, the “American Dream” had become the American ethos in which freedom becomes the only lead way for opportunity, prosperity, and success.
As a result of the heavily advertised idea, vast amounts of people immigrated to America, so they could “make it” and live a life of success. Several cities are considered to be significant when it comes to achieving greatness. Just like Frank Sinatra sings, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” his soft baritone words don’t only apply to New York City, but it also applies to Hollywood and the United States in general. Because if you become an American superstar, you are a worldwide celebrity. So, How did a Colombian woman become the epitome of a modern American Dream?
As a little girl, Sofia Vergara had a different dream than the one she was destined for, but the stars aligned, and not everyone gets what they want. Her destiny was more prominent than what she had planned.
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I guess assuming everyone knows who Sofia Vergara is, is entirely wrong of me. But if you are the 01% of people who don’t know who she is, I will give you some guidance (not going to lie, I am partially offended because I am Colombian, and Sofia is a national treasure). Sofia Vergara is an actress, television hostess, model, businesswoman, mother, and wife. Whoever said you couldn’t do it all was completely wrong because Sofia basically does. She has been the highest-paid actress up until last year, according to Forbes. Maybe this will ring a bell; Sofia played Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in the hit ABC sitcom ‘Modern Family‘ for eleven years.
Sofia Vergara – Beginnings
Sofia Vergara was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, a small city on the coast of the country. Raised catholic, Sofia, had engrained the traditional values of a Colombian family, turning her main interests towards marriage and having a family. Sofia had ambitions, and at first, she wanted to become a doctor, but because of her desire to create her own family, she opted for dentistry instead.
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There are plenty of Hollywood movies about a girl named “Lucky”; she gets discovered and becomes a superstar in a blink of an eye. There is often no struggle, no bad luck, and everything seems to fall on this girl’s lap. Maybe a tear here and there, but in the end, she gets the man, the money, and the fame. Sofia’s beginnings are not far from the rom-com plot I just laid out for you, except for the part that she is an immigrant, and before her big break, she worked extremely hard for twenty years.
Here comes the rom-com part of the story. On a family vacation, Sofia Vergara was wearing a sexy bikini, when a photographer from a production company spotted her. The photographer asked her to pose for him, as they were looking for a “bikini girl” for a new Pepsi commercial. She got the job. Because who wouldn’t give it to her? I mean, the woman is gorgeous. So hence, her first appearance ever was that Pepsi commercial, and due to this and her obvious good looks, she became somewhat known in Colombia and Latin America.
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Sofia Vergara was indecisive about wanting a public life. She got married at 18 and had her son. As she struggled to decide, she continued to follow her dream of being a dentist and attended dental school, falling two semesters short of graduating; just like any of you would, I’m assuming this because I would too, Sofia Vergara chose the TV world over dentistry.
Her first constant job was being the host of a TV show called ‘Fuera de Serie’ (Out of the Ordinary), the show was Colombian in origin, but it was broadcast all around Latin America and the United States. Her amazing personality and looks attracted producers in America, making Sofia Vergara relocate to Miami. Where she worked for a Spanish-speaking network and was offered her second job as a hostess for a TV show called ‘A Que No Te Atreves‘ (You wouldn’t Dare). The show gave her even more exposure, and suddenly Sofia was being offered minor roles in famous TV shows of the time, such as ‘Entourage‘ and ‘Hot Prosperities.’
It also seems like she was destined for greatness. As you think about her life, it is easy to see a ladder, one that she keeps climbing, and it always just keeps getting better. If you ever watched the show “The E! True Hollywood Story,” you will easily guess what happened next. From TV minor roles, she transitioned into Film productions with minor roles often playing the same character, and then, in 2009, Sofia Vergara’s hard work finally came to fruition.
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In 2009 creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan asked Sofia Vergara to be part of a new show they were working on, ‘Modern Family.‘ She agreed. The character was based on Sofia Vergara’s background, and the creators often liked to hear her feedback. Sofia Vergara’s career skyrocketed after the show’s first season. ‘Modern Family‘ became one of ABC’S most successful shows in the network’s history. Sofia Vergara played Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, the much younger wife of the patriarch of the family. Sofia’s comedic timing is impeccable, and she was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and seven Screen Actors Guild awards for her portrayal of Gloria. The show won the Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series for five consecutive years. The show was such a success that they were recipients of 22 Emmy Awards and 75 nominations. Being on-air for eleven years, ‘Modern Family’ became ABC’s longest-running comedy series.
With ‘Modern Family,‘ Sofia Vergara literally hit the jackpot. ‘Modern Family‘ shaped her career, and it allowed her to be able to do whatever she wanted with it since. Due to her bilingual nature and being loved by the American and Latin public, Sofia Vergara became the most paid actress for seven years, up to 2019.
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What About Stereotypes?
It has not always been all shine and gold in Sofia Vergara’s life. She’s had her up and downs, personally and professionally. Just like any of us, she has gone through quite a lot. I will not get into detail about her personal life; you can do that on your own time. I want to focus on what’s important to us, her career.
One of the main criticisms she faces often is falling into Latin stereotypes. Many believe that when she accepts roles that usually participate in the idea of a “Latin woman” affect the fight against these stereotypes. But her response to this criticism is always graceful, and she uses comedy to brush them out. Sofia believes there’s an opportunity, and many stereotypes are often birthed from something true. In an Interview for HOLA! USA, Sofia said, “What’s wrong with being a stereotype? Eight years ago, nobody had an accent like this on TV,” defending her character, in ‘Modern Family’ Gloria Delgado-Pritched.
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Since she skyrocketed to fame, her accent has been the talk of the town. But her ability to be so unapologetically herself, gives her the upper hand in a society where judgement is so hard to ignore. She often re-tells stories of not getting jobs, feeling her accent as a big obstacle in her career. Sofia Vergara gave the accent reduction thing a shot and later realized it wasn’t her thing, but that did not stop her from having a successful career. Sofia Vergara had trouble booking jobs, even with her striking good looks, because she wouldn’t look “Latina” enough. She needed to be more tanned, less blonde, and, well, have a stronger accent.
Since ‘Modern Family‘ ended, Sofia Vergara became one of the four judges for America’s Got Talent and has developed a cute and fun relationship with Heidi Klum. Sofia’s personality always adds a rail of laughter to the room.
Sofia Vergara’s career is significant proof that the ways to success are not carved in stone. The American Dream can be reached with an accent or no accent, hard work, and a bit of good luck. Sofia Vergara had made her mark in the world, and she will continue to pave the way as long as she is around.
By Ana Cobo
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Ana Cobo is a writer for The Hollywood Insider, who keeps up to date with the entertainment world and looks for truth and compassion in her pieces. She enjoys finding depth and understanding behind the creative work on TV shows and films. Sharing the new knowledge found has always been important to her. Ana loves sparking interest and highlighting the talent found in the Latinx community. Like everyone at The Hollywood Insider, Ana believes in uplifting the community, through compassion and understanding.