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Sofia Vergara, Actress

Celebrities who gave up dentistry for stardom — and vice versa!

Sofia Vergara.
Sofia Vergara

Dynamic, delightful and drop-dead gorgeous, Sofia Vergara is someone you might think was destined for a career in show business. But that’s not how the sassy siren of the hit TV comedy Modern Family saw it when she was growing up in Colombia.

“I was the class clown in Catholic school, but I never thought I would make a living out of it!” Vergara once told Parade magazine.

That changed one day on a family trip to the beach. It just so happened that a production company was scouting talent for a TV ad and they needed a pretty girl in a bikini. A striking 17-year-old high school senior caught their eye.

“They said, ‘Oh, let’s take a picture of you. We’re looking for somebody for a Pepsi commercial,‘” Vergara recalled. “I was like, ‘No, the nuns would kill me!’ ”

The reluctant future model was talked into posing for the picture by her mother, and she was cast in a commercial that made her famous throughout Latin America. Still, Vergara had other plans: She married her high school sweetheart at 18, had a son, and enrolled in dental school in her country’s capital city of Bogotá.

“I went to dental school, but I didn’t finish because I started getting opportunities for work,” Vergara said in an interview with the news and entertainment website The Daily Beast. “You have to decide every day, ‘Do I go to class or do I make money?’ Your priorities start changing.”

Vergara’s work eventually brought her to the United States, where she is now the most highly paid actress on television, and a successful entertainment entrepreneur to boot. She even did another Pepsi commercial not long ago, with two key differences: The Pepsi was diet and, she said, “I charge [sic] them a lot, not like the first time!”

Still, the actress and mom has not forgotten the importance of good oral hygiene. “I’m obsessed,” she told People magazine with characteristic humor. “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!”

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