Ariel Winter Talks Body Positivity And Reveals The Advice She Got From Sofia Vergara

Ariel Winter was thrust into fame at the tender age of 11, when she landed the role of Alex Dunphy on the crazy-popular Modern Family. In a new interview with Self magazine, the 18-year-old spoke about how difficult it was growing up in the public eye, acknowledging the scrutiny that comes with being a young star in Hollywood.

"Growing up in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst for my self-esteem," she said. "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."

Despite the negativity she was receiving online and from the press, Winter shared that her Modern Family costar Sofia Vergara was a big help when it came to feeling good about herself.

"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," Winter explained. "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.'"

Winter underwent a breast reduction surgery at age 17 and credited her sister, Shanelle Workman, who became her legal guardian in 2012, with giving her some of the most important advice she's received.

"I look up to her so much," the actress said. "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 for who you are. 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 to pick. Or you could be yourself and be happy and not listen to what they say.'"

"It was hard for me in the beginning to deal with people's comments and deal with everybody having an opinion on absolutely everything I did," she continued. "But as I got older, I started to realize that as long as I'm positive in my life and as long as I 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."

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This article first appeared on Womanista.com