by Samantha Schnurr | Fri., Oct. 21, 2016 11:39 AM
At just 18 years old, Ariel Winterexudes confidence beyond her years.
Having grown up in Tinseltown—she landed her first television role when she was 7—the teenager has faced endless criticism about her body, her social media behavior and several subjects in between, which forced her to navigate adult problems before she had even become a teenager.
Audiences truly came to know her name on Fox's Modern Family, which she was first cast as the nerdy younger sister at just 11. In the years that followed, puberty hit and her body began to change shape on the small screen.
Danny Feld/ABC via Getty Images
"I was bullied for being super flat and super skinny when I was 11 years old and then I turned 12 and I suddenly was curvy and had this bigger body that I wasn't prepared to deal with yet, but I was super excited because when I was younger, I'd always wanted boobs and I wanted a butt," she told E! News at New York City's Fig & Olive. However, her excitement was quickly clouded by public response.
"Unfortunately, photos came out of me on the Internet after my body had kind of blossomed and people were really hating on me for it," she recalled. "I got a lot of comments like 'You're fat, you're ugly, you're a slut…it was a lot coming from people I didn't know at such a young age."
While she was already managing the challenges of being a child star, the extra focus on her looks didn't help. "It was really difficult to grow up in the spotlight, but to grow up with that in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst thing for someone's self esteem and confidence."
Though the backlash initially took a toll on the young star, she ultimately made peace with her newfound curves and silenced public opinion. Currently, Winter is also the new leader of Dove's new self-esteem project, the #SpeakBeautiful Squad, which encourages positive conversation about women on social media.
"It turned out I never would fit that standard, so I kind of gave up on that and started focusing on the relationship I have with myself," she explained. "Now, I go to post a photo and I don't care what people write on my picture…if you don't like my photo, you can go unfollow me."
Winter also attends therapy—a resource she thinks should be taken advantage of by all.
"I never understood that so many people were so against therapy," she told E! News. "I think therapy is something that is so incredible for all of us."
"It's good to talk out your issues and have somebody that can't tell anybody else, but is just there to listen to everything you have to say," Winter added.
Still, the actress is not typically a secretive celebrity, particularly when her romantic life is involved.
"I don't think I'm private at all. I was in a relationship for three years and I posted about it all the time and now that I'm single, people are so confused that I'm not posting about a relationship," she told E! News.
That's right—this single lady is focusing on me, myself and I—and she's being crystal clear about it. "I'm just doing me. I'm not in a relationship. I don't have any boyfriends. I'm not seeing anybody."
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