Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, the star of hit television series "Modern Family," said in an exclusive interview with Efe that the international success she has had is due in good measure to her Latino roots.

"It makes me very proud to be Latino, today and always. Although now Latinos, the culture and everything Hispanic is getting more fashionable, the reality is that we know that being Latino, having those values of family, unity, working ability, delight in moving forward and that joy that identifies us, it's something divine. It's an honor, a privilege for me to be Latino," she said.

The 41-year-old Barranquilla native said that her Hispanic roots have given her a "differentiating factor," something that makes her "special" when actors who will participate in a project are selected.

In a telephone interview from her home in Los Angeles, where she is filming the fifth season of ABC's "Modern Family," Vergara also said that the "discipline of Latino work" is behind her success, which has made her the highest-paid woman on U.S. television by a wide margin, according to Forbes magazine.

Vergara was discovered by a talent scout on a Colombian beach and later she moved to the United States.

Despite her talent and beauty, the actress failed to get acting roles because her brown hair and green eyes did not fit Hollywood's stereotype of a Latino woman. With a lot of perseverance, however, she eventually made a name for herself in films like "Chasing Papi" (2003), "Soul Plane" (2004) and "Lords of Dogtown" (2005).

But it was in 2009 that she broke into English-language television with the role of Gloria, the boisterous Latino beauty on "Modern Family," which has triumphed in the ratings and reviews, garnering three Screen Actors Guild prizes and four Emmy nominations.

Currently, Vergara is using her success to create opportunities for other Latinos who want to make it in Hollywood.

Her company, Latin World Entertainment, has already taken its first step in Hollywood as a production firm, selling the TV series "Killer Women," inspired by the Argentine show "Mujeres Asesinas," to ABC. EFE