Best known for her role on US comedy Modern Family, playing Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Vergara billed her first job aged 17 – a TV ad for Pepsi in Colombia.
In traditional Colombian culture, women didn’t buy into the idea of organised fitness so there was no encouragement to exercise when Vergara was growing up. It was only after falling for fellow actor and fitness fanatic Joe Manganiello, 40 (name doesn’t ring a bell? Google Magic Mike and True Blood), that she felt any kind of interest in seeing what she was made of in the gym.
Luckily for Vergara (or not, depending on her motivation levels on that particular day), Manganiello had a bespoke, fully equipped one installed in their Beverly Hills mansion, so fitness is now quite literally on her doorstep.
“Meeting Joe has changed my whole approach to health – I have no excuses,” she says, adding that she exercises three to four times a week with a personal trainer.
“Working out is like torture for me – I’m in a bad mood two hours before, I’m in a bad mood while I’m doing it, I’m even in a bad mood at the end because then I have to schedule the next class. But I have accepted it, because it’s now part of my life. I know that, for my health, it has to be.”
“I don’t think, ‘I need to be like a fit model with a perfect body.’ That would take too much effort!”
It’s a refreshing perspective – particularly given Vergara’s position within the celebrity kingdom – and one that comes from knowing just how precious a healthy body can be. At 28, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and, after having surgery to remove it, was prescribed medication to control her hormones. Keeping them on the straight and narrow requires taking pills every day for the rest of her life.
Following the surgery, Vergara admits she went “a little crazy” with her diet, eating solely for optimum nutrition and downing shots of spinach to boost her immune system (she was nicknamed Doctor Vergara by close friends because of her obsession with health journals) but, these days, she’s more relaxed in her approach to food.
“During the week, I’ll have egg whites with vegetables for breakfast, or wheat toast and avocado – all the things that people eat now that are healthy. Then on Friday and during the weekend I eat whatever I want to.”
Read more of our exclusive chat with Sofia Vergara in the newest issue of Women's Health, on sale Thursday August 3.