September 12, 2018 02:45 PM

Sofia Vergara worked hard to get where she is now.

Sitting down with Health for the magazine’s October beauty issue, on stands Friday, Vergara opens up about her path to becoming one of the highest-earning actresses on TV, calling the accomplishment “very rewarding.” (According to Forbes, she earned $41.5 million before taxes and fees in 2017.)

“I’m 46 and I’ve been working for almost 30 years,” she says. “So being able to do something that I love in the entertainment business, and on top of that being able to make money? It’s been a wonderful experience.”

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But the actress, who is heading into her 10th season playing Gloria on the hit ABC sitcom Modern Family, admits the success has come with its fair share of challenges — like missing out on family time. (She’s been married to Joe Manganiello since 2015 and has a 25-year-old son, Manolo, with ex-husband Joe Gonzalez.)

“It has not been easy,” she says. “It’s been a lot of work, but it makes you feel rewarded for all the sacrifices — like missing my son’s birthday here and there and not being able to be present all the time for him.”

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

When it comes to career longevity, Vergara says the biggest lesson she’s learned is the importance of loving what you do.

“After working so many years, I think the most helpful thing has been realizing that you have to enjoy your work,” she says. “It’s not worth it to be around people who are sucking the energy out of you or who are creating problems.”

“At the beginning of your career, you have to do what you have to do — but now I don’t have to,” she adds. “I don’t need to sacrifice my sanity, or time with my family, if I’m having a horrible time. That’s one of the good things about [reaching a certain level of] achievement — you can make those decisions.”

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And after so many seasons, playing Gloria has become second nature.

“It gets easier and easier, because you kind of become that person,” she explains. “Like, I already know how she’s gonna react to things. But it’s always fun. You know how you hear that some actors get bored of playing a character for so long? To me, it’s super exciting. There is never a dull moment on set.”

As for what’s she taken from the character?

“Well, I think that she has taken more from me — from my life, from my family, and the way that I live my life,” she says. “But of course, she’s a lot better than me in how intense she is with her family, and how completely dedicated she is in making the family work.”

“She’s a character — she’s fake, so she’s better!” she adds with a laugh.

Modern Family season 10 premieres Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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