“I’m a 32-triple-D! My boobs are real, and I had a baby.”
She eats like an “animal” (her word!) but never leaves the house without makeup. The bundle of contradictions that is Sofia Vergara reveals all—including why she’s suddenly got undies on her mind.
Sofia Vergara has never been skinny-dipping—not in her own often-Instagrammed swimming pool, or in a lake or the ocean. She hasn’t watched TV in the nude, nor made a meal or surfed the Internet sans clothing. The Modern Family star doesn’t even like being barefaced: She almost always wears lipstick, even when she’s hanging out alone in her Beverly Hills mansion.
So how did this nudity-shy international sex symbol end up appearing in the buff on not one, but two very public occasions this spring—first for a shower scene with actor Karl Urban in the upcoming spy thriller Bent, then for the cover of this magazine’s first-ever global Naked Issue? Wouldn’t her husband like to know!
“Joe’s like, ‘F-ck, you’re going to be naked in everything now? Why?'” says Sofia, throwing her head back in laughter. (The only thing this woman does more than curse is crack herself up.) For the record, her hard-bodied hubby of almost two years, Joe Manganiello, made his name taking off his shirt (and more) in True Blood and the Magic Mike movies. Yet when his wife got the call about posing nude for WH, they were both taken aback.
“I told [my rep], ‘I’m going to be 45 years old! Stop putting me in naked things! Let me age with dignity!’ People say, ‘Oh, you look like you’re in your twenties.’ Well, it’s not true. Our skin is different.” She tugs at the not-exactly-loose flesh on the back of her tan hand. “I had never thought of the word pore, then I’m like, ‘Sh-t! What do I do with these?’ ” Still, Sofia couldn’t say no. “Here’s a woman, 45, being able to show her body. It’s not like before, when it was just young girls.”
It’s been only a few minutes since Sofia breezed into the tea salon of the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel, but she’s already girl-talking up a storm in that unmistakable accent. In person, the quirky-sexy Colombian actress—a.k.a. TV’s hottest mom, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett—is every inch the modern-day equivalent of her idol, Sophia Loren. Hair and makeup: awards-show perfect. Outfit: high heels, off-the-shoulder white linen peasant blouse, and gray skinny jeans. “One of the first things Joe told me when we started dating was, ‘I like how you’re always very well put together,’ ” she recalls. “He said, ‘I’ve had girlfriends that are all day long prancing the house in sweats, no makeup…’ I’m not saying that’s bad; it’s great. For good or worse, it’s the way I grew up: Accept yourself but also be better than yourself.”
A Mind (And Bod) For Business
Even when it comes to things that nobody but she and Joe—and now you!—can see, Sofia wants to get the details just right. Take her latest venture, launching this month: a line of thongs, briefs, and “Cheekys” (sexy boyshorts). “I love underwear!” she exclaims. And she’s not just talking about super-alluring (often super-restrictive) lingerie—you know, “the special one you buy, then you put on for one second” so it can be taken off. No, Sofia wants these undies to be cute, and seamless, and comfy; no rolling or bunching, no VPL.
It’s hardly her first biz foray. Sofia is not only the highest-paid television actress in the world, but two decades ago she cofounded Latin World Entertainment, the largest Hispanic talent management and marketing firm in the U.S., and she’s also a spokesperson for CoverGirl, Head & Shoulders, and appliance company SharkNinja. The underwear project, though, has an extra element: 10 percent of the sale price from the line, which is called EBY, goes toward giving women around the world microfinance loans to start their own small businesses. (You can see her wearing them throughout the shoot!)
“In countries where there is a lot of poverty, women are such an important force for the family,” Sofia says. “And sometimes they have to endure horrible things because they don’t have the means to just pack up and leave. I want to give them something to be able to help themselves, to save some money, to be able to have more control of their lives.”
In this, as in all of her businesses, Sofia has one bedrock rule: “I won’t sell something I don’t believe in. It has to be good, and it has to be something I really use.”
D-Cups And Six Packs
She takes the same pragmatic approach to her diet. The waiter stops by to offer a tray of sweets, and Sofia hesitates for a split second before laughing, “No, I don’t start cheating until Thursdays!” Over jasmine tea and fruit, she confides that her discipline in the month before her WHcover shoot wasn’t quite as strong.
“We were shooting Bent in Rome, and I was eating like I’m on my honeymoon—how can you not eat in Rome? I ate like an animal!” She also wasn’t exercising and then came home with pneumonia two days before the cover shoot. Sick in bed, she looked over photos of potential poses sent by the creative team. “They’re all of tall models holding their boobs with one arm. But I can barely cover my boobs with two arms—I’m a 32-triple-D!” Using both hands, she squeezes her breasts, paying no mind to the women eating scones or the harpist playing nearby. “My boobs are real, and I had a baby. If I grab them, I can’t even cover the nipple!”
That problem was creatively solved on set (see: strategic hair placement), and with both the movie and season nine of Modern Family wrapped, Sofia is settling back into a healthier diet and fitness groove, albeit reluctantly: “Joe built a very nice gym in the house, so I don’t have any excuses.” She exercises three or four times a week with a trainer, incorporating the Megaformer, “which is like an advanced Pilates machine” that combines cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility. Joe, a lifelong athlete, enjoys his daily sweat sessions, but “it’s like torture for me,” Sofia admits. “I’m in a bad mood two hours before, I’m in a bad mood while I’m doing it, I’m in a bad mood at the end because I have to schedule the next class.”
It’s not just Joe providing inspiration, however; it’s also his mother. “She’s 68 and she’s been working out for a long time. My mom is 68 too and had never worked out. So I made her start Pilates, and now she can get out of a car without, like [makes struggling noises].” Sofia wants to be just as strong when she’s older, she says. “It’s not about having muscle or cut abs. I don’t have abs”—she lifts up her shirt to prove it, and while not exactly a six-pack, it’s pretty darn flat—”because I’m not ‘I need to be like a fit model with a perfect body.’ That would take too much effort!”
Despite that claim, effort is not something Sofia ever scrimped on. In Colombia, she dreamed of being a doctor. When she moved to the U.S. and got the Modern Family role, “I worked like an animal,” she says. “I wanted to take advantage of my 15 minutes of fame, because you never know.” The first six years, she worked every weekend.
“Often I haven’t been the youngest or most intelligent girl in the room,” she says, “but I always, always am the hardest-working one. Dreams don’t happen if you just sit down and accept things.” And with that, she heads out to meet with a film producer on a new project—no word yet on whether it involves getting naked.
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Women’s Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands mid-August.