Sofia Vergara has discussed her physical transformation to play notorious crime boss Griselda Blanco in Netflix's latest true crime drama, including an ongoing condition she developed while working on the project.


The Colombian-American actor is best known for her comedy work on the hit US sitcom Modern Family, but is stepping into a more dramatic light for this collaboration with Narcos producer Eric Newman.

Vergara stars as the so-called 'Godmother of Cocaine' in Griselda – which chronicles the tumultuous gang wars that plagued Miami, Florida in the 1970s and '80s – donning prosthetics for the demanding role.

"We did a lot of tests to find her," Vergara said at a press conference. "We knew from the beginning that we didn't want me to look exactly like Griselda Blanco, because we didn't have time.

"We were doing a TV show, we didn't have eight hours to do makeup every day. But the most important thing for me was to disappear. For Sofia to disappear, for Gloria Pritchett from Modern Family to disappear.

More like this

"I didn’t want people to think ‘oh, that's Gloria with a fake nose’. That was my main worry. And it took us a lot of tests to see different wigs, different noses, different eyebrows."

Vergara continued: "I was nervous about it because I sometimes watch movies and it distracts me a lot to see [prosthetics], so I wanted her to look human and I wanted to be able to act with all those things that I had on."

The additions were considerable, with the actor revealing that her teeth, eyebrows, hairline and nose were all modified with prosthetics, while she also altered her skin tone and complexion for the role.

"I was trying to change as much as I could without looking like I was in a Halloween costume," summarised Vergara.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda in episode 103 of Griselda
Sofia Vergara as Griselda. Netflix Netflix

Beyond prosthetics, she changed her physicality in other ways, wearing clothes aimed at "minimising" certain parts of her body and changing her posture to reflect the real Griselda's shorter stature.

Unfortunately, the latter resulted in an injury to Vergara's spine, which could potentially be an ongoing issue for the star.

"I put myself in a body position for six months. The only time that I didn't go to work was because I'd gotten up in the morning and my back [hurt]," she explained.

"I couldn't get up because I was 50 doing this weird position, walking like that, smoking – and the doctor is like, ‘You're crazy. You can’t do that at your age’. They injected me. Now I have a problem with a disc from walking like that."

Vergara added: "It was worth it! I’m not going to be saying that in 10 years when I need an operation. But now I have to be very careful, I have to go to physical therapy every once in a while because if I forget about it, it comes back."

Griselda is available to stream on Netflix from Thursday 25th January 2024. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.


Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.