NETFLIX LOVES TO make a miniseries or movie that recreates real events, especially if they can attach a notable name to the show. Inventing Anna, Nyad, Dahmer, Narcos, When They See Us and many, many more make up a sizable part of the streaming service’s catalog. The newest addition stars Sofía Vergara as the lead in Griselda.
The miniseries is a fictionalized recounting of the story of Griselda Blanco, a Colombian drug lord most active in the 1970s and ’80s. Griselda follows Blanco’s rise to power, her downfall, and her demise. The six-episode series has earned high praise from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, with Vergara getting particular acclaim for her performance.
One of the obstacles to recreating the lives of real people for the screen is authenticity. Locations have to feel realistic, the clothes all the actors wear, the way they talk—all of it. And for the lead of the show, there’s often particular scrutiny into how they look. It’s a touch choice to make minor changes (like dying someone’s hair or having them wear a wig) or go for a full transformation with movie magic help from prosthetics and other makeup tools.
While it’s easy to see Sofía Vergara is playing Griselda (as most actors tend to have a pretty unforgettable look), it’s clear she doesn’t appear exactly as she usually does to match Griselda Blanco’s face. For viewers without much knowledge of what goes into makeup, it may not feel like a difficult job, but here’s what actually went into Sofia Vergara’s transformation into the infamous drug lord.
Sofia Vergara says her Griselda makeup took “hours.”
According to an interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Vergara cleared up any misconceptions over how “slight” the changes in her appearance looked.
“It was hours,” she told Clarkson. “It was a wig! It was a lot! They did a lot to me. It was teeth, it was wig, it was nose, it was plastic from here to here.”
Vergara on the Kelly Clarkson Show.
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the co-creator of the show, Eric Newman, who revealed that the transformation took three hours before Vergara could film. And before deciding on the exact look she’d have on the show, it took a few iterations to get right. “We didn’t feel the need to match Griselda precisely,” Newman said. “What we needed was for people to forget they were watching Sofía Vergara. And it was enough of a disappearance that it wasn’t somebody else. It was a shade of Sofía. And it worked really well.”
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.