Calling from Los Angeles, Vergara, 37, opened up about how she got acquainted with her onscreen husband Ed O'Neill, her near career as a dentist and her own real life family.
Here are five fun facts about the Modern Family scene stealer:
1. That accent is real!
Sure, it may seem specific to her character Gloria's outsized personality but Vergara says her accent is the real deal. "I go out to a mall or restaurant and when somebody hears me they'll go, 'Oh my God, it's your real accent,'" she says. "I tell them, 'Yeah, I guess I'm not that good an actress!'" Still, she admits, her comedic instincts may, at times, cause her to emphasize certain pronunciations. "I do make the accent a little stronger," she says. "I understand English; I read and write English perfectly, but the accent won't go away."
2. She was a teenage mom.
On Modern Family, Vergara's character has a young son named Manny – and in real life, the actress has a 18-year-old son named Manolo, who's a senior in high school. "I always tried to do the best for my kid," Vergara says. "I was 19 when I had him!" As a young mother, the actress says she's "never been alone," so she's not exactly thrilled that her son will be headed off to college next year. "I joke that I want him to fail this year so he can stay home another year," she says. "He looks at me like, 'You're a freak.' "
3. She was almost a dentist.
She's been an actress, model, television host and, yes, Vergara almost took up dentistry in Colombia. "I had to do two more semesters [of school], she says, adding that she quit dental school to become a TV host. Still, her dental hygiene remains impeccable. "I'm obsessed," she says. "My son thinks I'm crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!"
Richard Cartwright / ABC
4. She watched Ed Bundy in Spanish!
On Modern Family, Vergara is married to Jay, played by Ed O'Neill – and he was quite the familiar face. "I used to watch Married with Children in Colombia, dubbed in Spanish," she says. "[Ed's] fantastic! Sometimes he knows even more than the director when the scene is perfect. Ed knows a lot about TV. I didn't have much TV acting experience so I'm learning a lot."
5. She's friends with Shakira.
Born in the same town, Barranquilla, Colombia, as Shakira, Vergara says her pal would be a dream guest star on Modern Family – playing her sister. "I would love for her to do a little acting," she says. Who else would she like to guest star? Says Vergara: "I told them, 'Please can we get Sophia Loren as my mother?'" I would love to meet her; I just think she's fantastic."