She's been the highest-paid actress on television for the past six years in a row — but it was a long, slow rise to the top for Sofia Vergara.
The Modern Family star, 46, reportedly made a staggering $US41.5 million ($NZ63 million) in the 2016-17 financial year — that's $US15.5 million ($NZ23.5 million) more than the world's highest-paid film actress, Emma Stone.
And that's a bad year for Vergara: the year before, she'd earned $2 million more.
In a new interview with Health, she described her status as TV's highest-paid woman as "very rewarding" (well … duh).
"I'm 46 and I've been working for almost 30 years. So being able to do something that I love in the entertainment business, and on top of that being able to make money? It's been a wonderful experience," she said.
While she hardly seems old enough, Vergara has a son, Manolo, who turns 27 this week. She divorced his father when Manolo was 2-years-old, and said she had for years juggled her career goals with life as a single mother.
"It has not been easy. It's been a lot of work, but it makes you feel rewarded for all the sacrifices — like missing my son's birthday here and there and not being able to be present all the time for him," she said.
Her split from Manolo's husband, her high school sweetheart Joe Gonzalez, was one of a slew of personal upheavals for Vergara. She moved to the US after her older brother Rafael was murdered in 1998 during a botched kidnapping attempt.
More recently, she's made headlines due to the bizarre actions of her ex boyfriend, socialite Nick Loeb, who has pursued her in court for the right to use embryos she froze while they were together to have a baby of his own. This, despite the fact Vergara subsequently married True Blood star Joe Manganiello, 41.
Vergara's professional trajectory has been steadier. She made her first on-screen appearance at the age of 17, in a Pepsi commercial that screened in Latin America.
From there, she co-hosted two Spanish language TV shows in the late '90s, before moving to Hollywood where a succession of small roles led her to finally land her big break in 2009, as the hilarious Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in top-rating sitcom Modern Family.
Along the way, she's topped up her pay packet thanks to a healthy stream of product endorsements: Covergirl, Kmart and Pepsi among them. She cited confidence as the key to her success as a businesswoman.
"I think that it's important to show that you're confident — even when you don't know what you're doing, you know? The way you carry yourself is very important," Vergara said. "There's nothing worse than somebody who feels insecure, who talks like she's not supposed to be there … You just take a deep breath and do your best."
Vergara confirmed in the interview with Health that Modern Family is set to finish in one year, at the end of its 10th season — but that she'd happily stay on the show indefinitely.
"I don't understand why it can't be like Law & Order. That would be a dream for me, to keep doing this forever," she said.