Sofia Vergara's first ambition was to be a dentist.

The 'Hot Pursuit' star had never considered a career in modelling or acting and always wanted to fix people's teeth as a way of earning money.

But after she was spotted by a talent scout on a Colombian beach at the age of 17 and cast in a Pepsi commercial, she changed her mind and set her sights on conquering the showbiz world.

She said: ''I wanted to be a doctor but at that time, 20 years ago, women weren't really doctors. You were supposed to get married and have your kids and medicine was very difficult and required a lot of time. So the next best thing was dentistry, because you could be a dentist and just go home. You had the nine-to-five (aspect to it).''

After making a career for herself in South America, Sofia made the move to Los Angeles in 2005 and starred in a couple of sitcoms that flopped, but her faith that she'd make it Stateside never wobbled and she is now the highest paid TV actress in the world earning $37 million a year.

The 42-year-old beauty - who is engaged to Joe Manganiello - banks $325,000-per-episode for her role on 'Modern Family', and has numerous endorsement deals with companies such as Diet Pepsi, CoverGirl, At&T and Head & Shoulders.

Although she has achieved great success, Sofia admits it was tough convincing her parents to let her leave Colombia to pursue her dream in the US.

She told Stylist magazine: ''To be in the entertainment industry, I had to persuade my parents. That (career) was not regarded well 20 years ago in South America.

''I always knew I wanted fame and recognition, so I'd be able to do all the other things I wanted to do like endorsement deals, clothing lines, furniture lines, a perfume. I knew I had to be famous first and I ended up acting and enjoying it.''