Modern Family star Ariel Winter is the subject of a new interview and photoshoot with Self magazine. Much of the piece focuses on issues of body image—no surprise, considering that the 18-year-old actress has become closely associated with the body positivity movement in the last few years. And although she never asked for that honor, she takes it seriously. In the interview, she focused on the need for young girls to accept their bodies and reject internet bullies who would make them feel bad about their appearance—a subject she knows all too well.
She explained to Self what it was like to hit puberty so shortly after becoming famous:
Growing up in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst for my self-esteem. 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, 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 drastically. 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.
Luckily, she had a new friend to help her: her Modern Family costar, Sofia Vergara.
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 and what she looked like. She 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 "Wear whatever you want, and feel good about yourself."
Finally, she points out that despite the internet controversy that springs up over everything she does, she's really a normal 18-year-old.
I think people make a lot of judgments about me based on what I wear and all the things that I do. They kind of glorify and objectify a lot of the things that I do, and I wish people would just see me as the normal 18-year-old that I am. I’m doing the same things that everybody my age is doing.
You hear that, trolls? Leave Ariel alone!