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Sofia Vergara Studied for a Wildly Different Profession Before Fame

The hilarious actress and America's Got Talent Judge keeps audiences smiling, but she originally dreamed of being a dentist.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

As a hilarious actress and a beloved Judge on America’s Got Talent, Sofia Vergara is an expert at putting smiles on people’s faces.

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

But here’s the thing — had she followed her original career path, today she’d be maintaining those smiles and checking to make sure everybody's flossing.

Vergara’s professional Plan A was actually to be a dentist, not a star.

What did Sofia Vergara do before fame?

Born in Columbia, Vergara was always a high achiever who dreamed of working in the medical field, she told Harry Connick on his now-defunct talk show

Because med school requires so many years of study, Vergara decided that dentistry was “the next best thing for me at the time,” she said. “So I went to dental school but I didn’t finish. I went for two years.”

RELATED: This Is Why Simon Cowell May Be Quieter Than Usual During AGT 18 Auditions

Vergara never got up close and personal with people’s mouths, she explained. Instead, she spent those two years learning about the human body by hitting the books and studying cadavers. 

How did Sofia Vergara become famous?

When potentially lucrative modeling and acting opportunities arose for Vergara, a young single mom, she sank her teeth into show business instead.

Sofia Vergara on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Vergara broke into showbiz in the early 1990s with a Pepsi commercial for Latin American markets. She parlayed that attention-getting spot into becoming a Univision TV host after moving to the U.S. in the mid-’90s, according to Biography

In the 2000s, roles in a series of movies helped to boost her career – from Big Trouble to Meet the Browns to Madea Goes to Jail

In 2009, she landed the role of a lifetime as the fiery and funny Gloria Pritchett in the hit sitcom Modern Family

Vergara became a household name, a fan favorite, the highest-paid actress on TV, and a four-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee. 

All things to smile about, for sure.

Vergara reflected on how her career took shape in a Daily News interview: “I didn't want to be an actress. I wanted to be a dentist, but you never know what life will bring you.”

Now, since 2020, she's been an AGT Judge. Beyond showbiz, she’s a millionaire businesswoman who has paired with the corporate likes of Walmart, Kmart, and others as she’s launched her own lines of jewelry, furniture, clothing, and lingerie. 

She has also earned “a lot of money” being the face and spokesperson for other brands.

Sofia Vergara posing on the Vanity Fair red carpet.

Through it all, Vergara’s focus on dental care has stayed constant. In a 2009 PEOPLE interview she admitted she was “obsessed.” 

During Season 15 of America’s Got Talent, Sofia’s worlds of oral hygiene and entertainment sort of overlapped when a sword swallower chose her to extract the blade from his mouth. 

“Focus,” she commanded, while totally freaking out.

Sofia never became a health professional. But she knows how to keep audiences in stitches.

To see Sofia Vergara in action with fellow Judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel, watch America’s Got Talent, airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC, and streaming the following day on Peacock.