FEA­TURES The Naked Truth

Hot mama Sofía Ver­gara takes it off – at 45!

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Lori Ma­jew­ski and Gemma Calvert Pho­to­graphs by Matthias Vriens-McGrath

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.

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