Ariel Winter is posing topless, and while some of you may have some remarks to make about that, she really doesn't care.
The 18-year-old actress stripped down for a photo spread with Self, looking and feeling more confident than ever. In fact, Winter opened up about her struggle with body-shamers and how she's learned to live her life the way she wants to, despite the haters.
"Growing up in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst for my self-esteem," she admitted to the publication. "I had a hard time finding confidence within myself."
She continued, "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."
At such a fragile age, she was on the receiving end of cyber-bullying that no young woman should have to deal with. "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 said. "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 what other people said."
Luckily, she had role models like Sofia Vergara to help her as she continued to find peace with her changing body and learned to ignore the criticism.
"I had a great role model in Sofia 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.'"
Now, as Winter has gotten older, she says, "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."
Though she still receives hate—be it about a dress she wears to an awards show or an outfit she's photographed in on the street—she will continues to live her life like any other 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," Winter said. "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...people are taking it and making it [seem] like I'm doing stuff that is crazy when really I'm just being me. I wish people would see that."
Read her full interview with Self here.