And, in her category, she was pitted against her TV father's trophy wife, Sofia Vergara, with whom she sometimes appears to be engaged in on- and off-screen catfights — all a joke, egged on by the stereotype that actresses can't get along, Bowen says.
With her irrepressible style — "I have a big mouth" — she's likely to say or do outrageous things. There was that now-infamous picture that she circulated of her twins nursing, one that, given the mom's-eye view of the proceedings, makes the tiny boys look like they're scaling their own, private Grand Tetons.
She's resigned to the unblinking eye of celebrity followers. "There's this entire industry of picking people apart, circling people's arm fat or, 'how could she wear those earrings?'" she says. "I'm on a strict gossip diet. No gossip websites, no gossip magazines. Otherwise, I find it paralyzing to exist."
Bowen filmed two movies this summer, "Jumping the Broom," in which she plans the wedding of a black couple, followed by "Horrible Bosses," the comedy with Spacey. Which, on top of "Modern Family," kept her dashing between multiple roles, including the one she plays in real life. Still, she sounds grateful rather than harried: "I'm incredibly lucky. I have a lot of people helping me, I'm not single-handedly raising three boys. People do my makeup, they bring me food."
As she chews another bit of sushi, though, a voice can be heard calling her back to work. With an apology and a promise — promptly made good — to call back, the real-life Julie Bowen disappears into her current screen version.
But there is one role in particular that she'd love to land some day.
"I want to do a movie in Baltimore. I'm putting it out there," Bowen says. "I would have a whole different relationship with the city if I could work there. I would love to see it from the vantage point of an actor."