How 'Griselda' star Sofía Vergara transformed into a Colombian drug lord with facial prosthetics, fake eyebrows, and really flat hair

  • Sofía Vergara stars in "Griselda," a Netflix series about the Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco.

  • For the role, Vergara underwent a physical transformation that included a prosthetic nose.

  • She also had her teeth yellowed and her hair flattened to achieve the look.

When you think of Sofía Vergara, the role that may spring to mind is the glamorous firecracker Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the long-running sitcom "Modern Family."

But in "Griselda," which was released on Netflix on Thursday, Vergara transformed into the Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco.

Vergara pitched the series to "Narcos" showrunner Eric Newman in 2015, three years after the infamous "godmother of cocaine" was assassinated, The New York Times reported.

Newman, and his "Narcos" collaborator Andrés Baiz, signed on and the series was announced in 2021.

"She knew so much about this woman," Baiz told the Times. "And she felt strongly that there was a part of her story that hadn't been explored onscreen before."

The six-part series looks at Blanco's life from when she moved to Miami in the late 1970s as a newly single mother.

The empire she built there caught the attention of June Hawkins, played by Juliana Aidén Martinez, one of the Florida city's first female homicide detectives.

Here's how Vergara transformed into the real-life cocaine queen with the help of make-up, prosthetics, and really, really flat hair.

Vergara wanted to distance herself from her 'Modern Family' character

Modern family gloria jay sofia vergara
Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchard and Sofía Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in "Modern Family."ABC/"Modern Family"

Vergara and her fellow producers knew that for audiences to separate her from her much-loved "Modern Family" character, she would have to undergo a substantial physical transformation.

According to production notes provided to Business Insider, that took some trial and error as the team workshopped several different hair and makeup designs.

"We had a couple tests, some that had been a little too extreme, some that perhaps had not been enough, but we found our way to a really great place," Newman, the series' creator and executive producer, said in a statement.

The team even turned to facial prosthetics to try and hide some of the star's striking natural features.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco in "Griselda."
Sofia Vergara had yellowing, uneven veneers placed over her teeth for the role.Elizabeth Morris/Netflix

"Any difference that would give Sofía confidence was what became important — in the eyebrows, the nose, hair," Baiz, the show's director, said.

"She wanted to feel like a different person, but not to the point in which the prosthetics or makeup took over her performance," he added. "It had to be subtle."

"Getting the look correct was very important to me because I needed to disappear," Vergara said.

"I wanted no one to think of me or my last role as Gloria Pritchett. I wanted to get inside Griselda's head and really understand her mentality, where she was coming from."

Makeup artist Todd McIntosh, whose previous credits include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was part of the team tasked with coming up with the right look.

"It's all about taking her absolutely exotic face and turning it into an average face," McIntosh said.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco in "Griselda"
Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco in "Griselda"Netflix

McIntosh and the show's makeup and hair department head, Angela Nogaro, decided to give her a prosthetic nose, switch her thick eyebrows for period-appropriate thin ones, and cover her straightened, white teeth with a plate of uneven, slightly bucked veneers.

"We even yellow out her bottom teeth a bit more because she smokes all the way through the show," McIntosh pointed out.

Vergara said she spent three hours in the makeup chair each day, The NYT reported.

Wigs didn't work

Hairstylist Kelly Kline, who worked with the hair department's Dennis Parker, said there were a few false starts before they nailed the hair.

"Every time we tried to make her hair bigger or more exactly period, it just made her look too beautiful," Kline said.

In the end, they decided to flatten out the hairstyle, which provided the realism they needed for the finished look.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco in "Griselda."
Sofia Vergara's hairstylist said they intentionally made her hair look flat for the role, ignoring the big blowout '70s look.Elizabeth Morris/Netflix

"So every hairstyle is flatter and smaller than it really should be to make her look more real as opposed to just Sofía with a wig," Kline said.

The result of the team's collaborative effort ended up paying off, with showrunner Ingrid Escajeda sharing her reaction when she saw the actor after she emerged from her makeup trailer.

"The first day on set, I remember walking out thinking, 'Wow, that's Griselda.' And underneath the prosthetics, Sofía's natural charm shone through," she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider