FEATURES The Naked Truth
Hot mama Sofía Vergara takes it off – at 45!
Sofía Vergara hastily swallows a gulp of jasmine tea before her hearty cackle fills the room. “It was awful!” she roars, recalling the moment she was invited to front Women’s Health’s inaugural Global Naked Campaign. Er, surely she means flattering? Gratifying? An honour? Nope, that’s not how Sofía rolls. “I told my assistant, ‘I’m going to be 45 years old! Can you just please let me age with some dignity? Why do I have to be f*cking naked at 45?’” If Sofía is guilty of anything (aside from having a penchant for prolific swearing), it’s quite possibly her tendency to question the obvious. Yes, she’s 45; she’s also in possession of one of Hollywood’s most naturally stunning bodies – isn’t that killer figure something to be celebrated? Happily, it seems we timed our request just right, catching Sofía in an acquiescent “in for a penny, in for a pound” mood. Just one week before our shoot, the self-confessed nudityphobe disrobed in front of an entire film set of bystanders to rehearse a shower scene for her new spy thriller Bent. Practice obviously makes perfect. For all the mock outrage, her assistant confirmed that of course she would strip off for Women’s Health covers across the world – and so Sofía finds herself naked in front of the camera for the second time in as many weeks. The modesty that has kept Sofía largely under wraps – until now – is arguably at odds with the gregarious persona for which her fans adore her and, perhaps more significant, the remarkable achievements she can quite happily tick off her to-do list. Sure, she’s an actor first and foremost (the highest earning female on TV – $1.2-million per episode – thanks very much), but the Vergara ambition wasn’t going to stop at that. Sofía is also a co-founder of Latin World Entertainment, the largest Hispanic talent management and marketing firm in America; the face of global brands including Diet Pepsi, CoverGirl and Kmart and has this year launched an underwear range.
Not bad – even for a woman who’s quick to remind us she’s had nearly half a century to work at it. As she pinches the not-particularly loose skin on the back of her smooth, tanned hand in a concerted effort to prove to us she’s no spring chicken, it’s difficult to believe that Sofía is hung up on her age, ironically or otherwise. Toned and taut, with curves more commonly found on Barbie dolls than actual breathing humans, she’s forever riding high on “world’s sexiest” lists – in femalevoter polls just as often as male-voter polls – and there’s a certain sense of validation in this. Best known for her role on US comedy Modern Family, playing sassy trophy wife Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Sofía billed her first job aged 17 – a TV ad for Pepsi in Colombia. She has often recounted the tale of a publicist recommending she undergo surgery when she arrived in the US, to reduce her natural 32E boobs, which materialised at the age of 13 and grew larger when she was pregnant with her son (Manolo, now 24) from her first marriage. The reason? They made her look fat in photos, apparently. The answer was a firm no and Sofía has no regrets – but she is only human. “Unless they’re in a bra, my boobs don’t look that great any more,” she reveals, glancing down at what God gave her. “If I don’t have a bra on, but I’m wearing clothes, it’s fine – and for two seconds naked! I wish I could be a bit more athletic. But when you’re born with these gigantic boobs, there’s nothing athletic that you can do.” In traditional Colombian culture, women didn’t buy into the idea of organised fitness so there was no encouragement to exercise when Sofía 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, and thank us later), that she felt any kind of interest in seeing what she was made of in the gym. Luckily for Sofía (or not, depending on her motivation levels on each particular day), Joe had a bespoke, fully equipped gym 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.” She chooses her moves carefully and is realistic in her body goals. “I have a problem with my knee so I can’t do squats, jumps or running,” she says. “I have a Megaformer, which is like an advanced Pilates machine. For me, it’s not about having muscles or cut abs – I don’t have abs,” she insists, raising her shirt to reveal a pancake-flat, albeit six-pack-free, stomach. “I don’t think, ‘I need to be like a fit model with a perfect body,’ because, you know, I’m 45. That would take too much effort!” It’s a refreshing perspective – particularly given Sofía’s position within the celebrity kingdom – and one that comes from knowing just how precious a healthy body can be. When she was 28, Sofía was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and, after having surgery to remove her thyroid gland, she 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, Sofía admits she “went a little crazy” with her diet, eating solely for optimum nutrition and downing shots of spinach to boost her immune system (her close friends nicknamed her Doctor Vergara due to her obsession with health journals) but, these days, she’s more relaxed in her approach to food. The evidence is on her Instagram page, a feed awash with indulgence. Images of the actress facing off a monster bowl of doughnuts and filling her plate with gooey desserts captioned #ItsMonday make light of her often waylaid attempts to eat healthily from Monday to Thursday. “People ask me, ‘Do you really eat all those cakes that you show on Instagram?’” she says. The answer? “Yes, I do, but I don’t eat them every single day. I’ve found a balance that works for me.” Ah, yes, the ubiquitous #balance. So what does this actually look like for self-proclaimed foodie Sofía? “During the week, I’ll have egg whites with vegetables for breakfast, or toast and avocado – all the things that people eat now that are healthy. Then on Friday and the weekend I eat whatever I want.” As difficult as it may be to believe, Sofía spent the month prior to our shoot filming in Italy – the land of carbs, creamy sauces and Aperol spritzes – doing zero exercise and “eating like an animal”. Hey, if it works for you, why not? Fast-forward to two days before getting her naked on, she was laid up in bed with pneumonia, scrolling through images our creative team had sent over in the interests of inspiration. “All these beautiful, tall models with tiny little boobs – holding them with one arm,” Sofía shrieks, all in good humour. “And the whole boob is covered! I can’t cover my boobs with two arms!” And yet, here we are, with the pics to prove otherwise... “Okay, we finally figured out a way, but it took about 10 hours. I was like – [ makes pained gasp] – ‘I hope the magazine is happy with the f*cking pictures!’” And there she goes again – cursing, and questioning what we all know to be true. Sofía Vergara, you are naked, 45 and fabulous.