Ariel Winter has been acting since she was five years old and grew up before everyone’s eyes over the 11-year run of Modern Family. Spending her most awkward years in front of the camera didn’t come without struggles — particularly when it came to embracing her body.
In an interview with E!, Ariel discussed growing up in the spotlight and how it impacted her life off-camera. Most notably, she was often subjected to criticism, name-calling, and downright disrespect after she developed a curvy figure at only 12-years-old.
Reflecting back on that time, she said,
“Unfortunately, photos came out of me on the internet after my body had kind of blossomed and people were really hating on me for it. I got a lot of comments like ‘You’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re a slut’…it was a lot coming from people I didn’t know at such a young age.”
As if internet trolls weren’t enough, Ariel also had to deal with her mother, who would restrict her food, make her dye her hair, and essentially sexualize her in an effort to get her roles.
If ever there were a recipe for disaster, it’s subjecting a young teenage girl to constant criticism and inspection of her body.
As Ariel grew up and gained more control over her career, her relationship with her mom turned so toxic that her Modern Family on-set teacher reported her to Child Protective Services. At that point, Ariel’s older sister took her in, got her started in therapy, and things began to turn around.
At 17-years-old, Ariel took charge of her own body and opted to have breast reduction surgery. The procedure brought her size 32F breasts down to a much more manageable size-D. After the surgery, she gained a lot more confidence and told Glamour,
“I recommend [the surgery] for everybody — all women that have thought about it and have suffered from having really large breasts and back problems and just don’t feel right in their own skin”.
If you were to meet Ariel today, at 22-years-old, you’d never believe there was a time she didn’t love her body. She’s not shy about putting trolls in their place, never apologizes for how she dresses, and totally embraces her curves.
She credits her self-love and acceptance to therapy, her sister, and Modern Family co-star, Sofia Vergara. In a story for TODAY, Ariel said,
“Growing up working with [Sofia] was amazing because I got to see how confident she was in her body and how much she embraced her curves”.
Despite everything working against her, Ariel ultimately flourished. Modern Family is what exposed her to so much hate, but it’s also what helped her find her voice, remove herself from an unhealthy family situation, and ultimately achieve self-acceptance.