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Top-Paid Actress Sofia Vergara's Colombian Upbringing Was A Scary Scene

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By Marisa Roman

We all known Sofia Vergara as the lovable, albeit sometimes annoying character of Gloria on ABC’s Modern Family, which has earned the actress top-paid status amongst her peers. However, with all that success and fame that has launched her into top stardom, Vergara didn’t have much in the way of a traditional upbringing. In fact, growing up in Colombia, Vergara experienced a much darker childhood then many can imagine, largely due in part to where the actress was born and raised.

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Born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1972, Vergara was the youngest of a large family—five children in total. Vergara was lucky enough to attend a Spanish-English private school in Colombia, thanks to her hard-working parents. However, despite the schooling and supportive family, growing up in Colombia during this time period was difficult, and more importantly dangerous. Barranquilla during this time was riddled with crime, drug trafficking, war, and inescapable violence. Due to Vergara’s family being of a higher economic status than most, they became potential targets.

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It wasn’t long that this young, beautiful woman living in Colombia was discovered and offered potential modeling opportunities. In fact, a photographer walking a beach in Colombia noticed the beauty and presented her with modeling and television work right on the spot. While Vergara was apprehensive about becoming a model, primarily due to her Catholic upbringing and schooling, it wasn’t until she received personal permission from her Catholic school teachers to take on modeling opportunities. However, the quick discovery and road to stardom weren’t without many bumps along the way, outside of living in a tumultuous time in Barranquilla.

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Vergara started her career with a hit Pepsi ad in 1989 but retreated from show business soon after that when she married her first husband and had her son Manolo at only 18 years old. Vergara began studying to pursue the field of dentistry, but soon enough divorced her husband and became a single mother when her son was just two years old. Vergara then moved with her son outside of Barranquilla determined to find a better life for them both.

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The tension in Barranquilla escalated beyond repair, which is why Vergara and her son moved to Bogota. Bogota was not only a safer city in comparison, but also provided opportunities for better jobs. Eventually, Vergara was offered work as an actress for a Mexican Telenovela based in Miami, Florida which is when Vergara started her long, twenty-year journey to becoming an American citizen. Leaving behind the violence of Colombia not only kept her son safe but also launched her career toward becoming one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

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