Back in 2015, Modern Family actress and rising social media celebrity Ariel Winter underwent breast reduction surgery.
She opens up about this topic, and bares all – literally and otherwise – in a revealing new interview with Self magazine.
“Growing up in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst for my self-esteem,” the 18-year-old star told the publication.
“I had a hard time finding confidence within myself.”
“When I started [Modern Family], I had a completely different body than what happened overnight at 12 years old.”
“I was stick thin,” she adds. “I had no chest, I had no butt … I had nothing. I was totally flat, and I was so sad about it.”
“Then automatically, overnight, my body changed.”
“I was a D cup and had a bigger butt, and my waist was expanding. Everything was getting bigger. I automatically got this hate and judgment online.”
Accepting her body transformation wasn’t easy.
Fortunately, “I had a great role model in Sofia [Vergara] growing up, with her being a curvy woman that was super proud of who she was.”
“[Sofia] could see that I was struggling a little bit with how to deal with my body, and was always trying to give me advice.”
“Like, ‘Here are some brands that would look good on our body type,’ or just ‘Wear whatever you want, and feel good about yourself.'”
Winter also credits her older sister, Shanelle Workman, whom she lives with, for encouraging her to be comfortable in her own skin.
“I look up to her so much,” she gushes. “I would listen to her talk to me, saying, ‘It doesn’t matter what other people think. You are who you are.”
“It’s not going to change. Love yourself.”
Her older sister told her to focus her love inward:
“People are going to hate regardless of what you do. You could conform to everything they say, and they’re still going to find something.”
“It was hard for me in the beginning to deal with people’s comments and deal with everybody having an opinion on absolutely everything,” she says.
“It was hard for me to not fall prey to wanting to change the way I felt and the way I did things and the way I looked because of other people.”
But as Winter got older, she got better at realizing:
“As long as I’m positive in my life and feel good about my decisions and stick to how I feel and the things I want to do, that’s what’s most important.”
“And that’s what’s going to get me through in life.”
One of the things she wanted to do, regardless of what others thought, was have breast reduction surgery at the young age of just 17.
The scars from having her 32F breasts are visible in the photos above, and Winter calls it “honestly the greatest choice I made.”
Winter made some headlines for wearing a dress to last year’s SAG awards that showed off the scars from her breast reduction procedure.
Explaining her decision, she tweeted: “Guys there is a reason I didn’t make an effort to cover up my scars! They are part of me!”
“I’m not ashamed of them at all. :)”
These days, Winter – who trolls often call “fat, and ugly, and a slut” on Instagram – says she’s done listening to the haters these days.
Still, she has her moments.
She says the worst comment she ever received was on a photo of herself and her nieces wearing bathing suits on a family vacation.
Someone said she was “asking for it.”
Yes, as in asking to be sexualized for daring to show any sort of skin … while on a vacation with her family members. It was disheartening.
She remembers being truly shocked.
“It made me super disappointed in our world, and in the internet and the people who were writing things on the Internet,” she says.
“That really disturbed me, and made me incredibly upset,” Ariel adds, and “I really had to stand up and make it a point to fight back.”
To her, people were “body shaming, but also slut-shaming” her, and “taking aim at people that weren’t doing anything wrong.”
And that, she says, is what has to stop. Now.
“Making comments that were so harmful and distressing for absolutely no purpose,” she says, drove Winter to take action that day.
We don’t suspect it will be the last time she gets trolled – or that she stands up and fires back at those sending such horrible messages.
Even the simple act of defiance and calling out the trolls for who they are sends a powerful message in this day and age.
And for that, and everything else, we thank her.