Sarah Hyland certainly looks picture perfect covering the May issue of Seventeen, but the Modern Family star's life hasn't always been that way.
"I was born with so many health issues that doctors told my mother I would never have a normal life," Hyland, 24, tells the mag. "And she said, 'You're right, she won't—but it won't be because of her health.' When my mother told me that story, it resonated with me: If I can't have an ordinary life, I might as well have an extraordinary one."
"If you set your mind to something, you'll achieve it," she says.
Those aren't the only words of wisdom Hyland shares with Seventeen. "Happiness, I've learned, comes from within," she says. "I am happiest when I am doing something I love. And I love Modern Family—it's the best job I've had in my 20 years as an actress. It didn't come easily or fast or free: It took me 14 years to land a gig like this."
The actress, currently dating Dominic Sherwood, also has some advice for young women when they don't always feel like things are working in their favor. "When you're feeling vulnerable, it can lead to doubt and second-guessing. It will steer you away from your goals and your happiness," she says. "Once you have a goal, keep moving forward—even if you're taking baby steps!"
Hyland's pal Taylor Swift shares some advice with Seventeen readers as well—specifically those who are about to graduate! As she puts it, "The things that set you apart from the pack, the things that you once thought were your weaknesses, will someday become your strengths."
Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez urges young people, "Believe in yourself and in the power of hard work, but remember that life isn't a race. The end goal isn't the win. Enjoy this journey because it's going to be fun! You're going to learn so many things that are going to make up who you are."
For more from Hyland, Swift, Rodriguez and more influential women (including Michelle Obama), check out the May issue of Seventeen, on newsstands nationwide April 21.