Despite her sunny disposition, Vergara has endured many tragedies in her life -- her older brother was murdered in Colombia, and her younger brother has battled drug addiction. Her way of coping is to stay upbeat.
"When you have a responsibility, like a kid or like a family, you cannot give yourself the luxury of going -- getting depressed," Vergara said. "So I think it's more like a unconscious thing of just, you know, keep -- let's keep going, let's keep going."
While she makes a habit of smiling constantly now, Vergara went through an especially difficult time in 2000, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 28.
"I was very young. and when they tell you that word, it's, like, 'What are you talking about?'" she said. "You always think, 'death.' You don't -- that's all you think when they tell you that. So it was -- it was pretty scary."
Vergara continued, "I never felt sick. ... You want to be treated when you're feeling sick, when you're uncomfortable. When you're perfect, to make the decision of going through all these, you know -- operations and treatment, it's a nightmare, because you're feeling healthy."
Since divorcing her first husband, Vergara has been linked with some of Hollywood's elite stars -- she famously dated Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg and Enrique Igelsias. But these days she is dating a man outside the Tinseltown glamour -- 36-year-old Nick Loeb, a wealthy businessman from Florida.
And despite turning 40 this year, Vergara hinted that having children with Loeb was not totally off the table.
"If I stay with him, he's young ... he's never had kids, so I'm sure he's gonna put pressure on me," she said. "But -- right now, I can't. I mean, I'm doing -- you know, in the middle of 'Modern Family,' which is my priority. I don't think anyone wants to see Gloria pregnant."
It's clear the comedic actress doesn't take herself too seriously, but the role she plays both on- and off-screen has made an impact.
"I think all the women should be a little bit more like Gloria," she said, laughing.