Sofia Vergara’s Surprisingly High Net Worth
Colombian actress Sofia Vergara broke into the North American market with "Modern Family," but she's been working in the industry since she was 17. Taking over television, she rose to become the highest-paid small-screen female actor in 2020.
After a career that spans almost 40 years, Vergara has amassed an impressive fortune. She's been able to do it because of her talent, of course, but also by having a good eye for business.
This is how Sofia Vergara earned her impressive net worth.
A Lucky Encounter Launches Her Career
Sofia Vergara was born on July 10, 1972, in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, the same city from which Shakira hails. Vergara's dad was a cattle rancher, and her mother a homemaker, a fact that has made several media outlets erroneously report that she comes from humble beginnings.
In reality, her family was well-to-do and lived quite comfortably. Still, Vergara had no aspirations of modeling growing up. Her big break came when a talent agent spotted the then 17-year-old at the beach and offered her a role in a Pepsi commercial.
The ad was extremely popular in Colombia and Latin America. After that, the offers kept coming in.
Success in the Latin American Market
While doing modeling gigs, Vergara studied dentistry for three years, planning on pursuing that as a career. She decided to give that up and concentrate her efforts on modeling and acting. She found great success in all of Latin America in the 1990s.
Sadly, in 1998, her brother was assassinated during a kidnapping attempt. Knowing that she and her whole family were also targeted, she moved to Miami. Because she was already well known with Hispanic viewers, she was able to quickly land a contract with the Spanish-language channel Univision as a TV show host.
She also acted in a handful of telenovelas. Her success was impressive, but she was still a long way from breaking a million dollars.
A Rocky Start in Los Angeles
In the early 2000s, Vergara decided to try her luck in Hollywood and moved to Los Angeles. However, she had trouble landing gigs because casting agents thought her naturally blond hair and light eyes weren't right for a Latina character. In the end, she had to dye her hair dark to be considered.
Even then, her first role in the English-speaking market was disappointingly stereotypical: She played a maid in the 2002 film "Big Trouble." From there, she landed roles in movies like "Chasing Papi," "Lords of Dogtown" and "Madea Goes to Jail." She also acted in the Spanish language version of "Desperate Housewives."
Forming Her Own Production and Talent Company
But Vergara wasn't banking solely on her acting gigs. Frustrated by the contracts she received and noticing most Latin American talent had no formal representation, she launched Latin World Entertainment Holdings with Luis Balaguer.
The production company also acts as a talent company and as a media marketing firm. Since "Big Trouble," it has been marketing products and movies to Latin American viewers, tapping into a market that had previously been ignored.
LatinWE continues to be one of the most respected agencies for Latin talent. There are no exact figures for how much Vergara earns from this smart business venture, but the company has been estimated to be worth $35 million.
'Modern Family' Was Sofia Vergara's North American Breakthrough
Although by 2009, Vergara was a household name in both Latin America and the Latin market in the United States, she was still relatively unknown in Hollywood.
That completely changed when she landed a role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the ABC show "Modern Family." Though the character was originally written to be generically Latina, Vergara convinced the writers and producers to let her have some creative input for the character.
The end result was one of the show's most iconic and memorable characters.
Becoming the Highest-Paid Female Actor on Television
The international success of "Modern Family" propelled Vergara into fame. While she started at a reported $300,000 per episode, that number quickly rose to $500,000. From 2012 to 2020, she made Forbes' list of the highest-paid female actors. In 2020, she came out at the very top of the list.
That same year, she was included in the 100 highest-paid celebrities, coming in at number 71. She also joined "America's Got Talent" as a judge, a job for which she is reportedly paid about $10 million a year.
Still, her acting roles aren't the only thing that's earned her hundreds of millions.
Endorsements and Products
Like most popular celebrities, Vergara has taken advantage of endorsement deals with products like Diet Pepsi and Head & Shoulders.
But being a smart business person, she's gradually been replacing them for licensing contracts. This means that businesses pay a licensing fee for using her image to promote her products. The difference is that she gets royalties for the number of units sold, rather than a set payment. With these terms, her earning potential is exponentially increased.
Using her star power, Vergara has also launched her own products. Most notably, she has an apparel brand named "Sofia by Sofia Vergara" and a furniture collection in Rooms to Go.
Sofia Vergara's Success
Although often underestimated as just another pretty face, Vergara has proven to have a head for business. The versatile celebrity turned 50 in 2022 and doesn't seem ready to stop anytime soon.
Like her star power, her already sizeable net worth of $180 million will probably continue to grow.