When your lookalike cousin (and adopted sister) is as lovely and successful as Sofia Vergara, there’s only one thing to do: follow her to Hollywood.

Sandra Vergara is making a name for herself as an actress, artist and in her latest gig, TV host, talking beauty with Dr. Terry Dubrow and RuPaul on E!’s Good Work (Tuesdays, 10/9c).

The Colombian knockout, whose credits include TV’s CSI, The Bold and the Beautiful, Nip/Tuck and the movie Fright Night, told us how she acquired a “Ph.D. in beauty”—and how her famous cousin kickstarted her career.

“It’s not a superficial show because the message is not ‘you need to look flawless.’ We’re not going to ‘out’ celebrities but we will give our opinions.”

Apparently everyone in your family is gorgeous. Is it genetic, the Colombian coffee or what?
A combination of the above. I think Colombian women are beautiful, but there are also beautiful American women.

Tell me about your relationship with Sofia. You’re close?
Very. We’re first cousins. My biological mother is her mother’s sister. But when she had me she had some complications so my aunt adopted me. But I didn’t know she was my aunt until I was 10 years old. I grew up with her as my mother. Sofia is 16 years older. I look up to her and my sister Veronica who is seven years older. Sofia brought me here. She paid for my makeup career. I was always an actress, always a class clown. She said, ‘Most actresses don’t make money, come to Hollywood and make money as a makeup artist.” It was wonderful because it got me to where I am now. I get to do both—I get to use my acting, my personality and my knowledge in beauty.

What’s Good Work about?
It’s a show about everything that has to do with beauty—makeup, hair, procedures, plastic surgery, what it costs. It’s not a superficial show because the message is not ‘you need to look flawless.’ We’re not going to ‘out’ celebrities [who’ve had procedures] but we will give our opinions. We’ll have celebrity guests, scientists, beauty experts. We’ll share all the secrets. But it will not be a mean show. It’s very authentic and real.

What do you bring to it?
Not only was I on Nip/Tuck, I dated a plastic surgeon for seven years. I was a celebrity makeup artist. I have a Ph.D. in beauty!

sandra-vergara-instagram

What do you think of plastic surgery and other procedures? Would you do it?
I believe in anything that will make you feel better about yourself. I would, if it’s going to make my life better.

What else are you working on?
I’m an artist. I paint. My latest thing is a collection of hummingbirds and in the background are chemical structures—neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin—instead of the branches, it’s molecules. You can see it on my Instagram, sandravergara21.

Any roles coming up?
I have to live in the moment so at the moment I’m all about Good Work. I have enough on my plate. One day at a time, no?

What’s the number one thing you look for in a man?
That he makes you feel good for who you are and doesn’t try to change you. That’s hard to find!

What’s your beauty secret?
It’s confidence, that’s the number one ingredient. You can look like a Victoria’s Secret model or Brad Pitt, but if you don’t feel it when you look in the mirror… beauty does start inside. After that, moisturize and get your face out of the sun!

Lead photo by Brian Bowen Smith/E! Entertainment