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Ariel Winter has been in the public eye ever since she landed her role as Alex Dunphy on Modern Family. And while she’s grown up seemingly in front of our eyes on the hit ABC sitcom, she’s also been subjected to incessant cyber-bullying and body-shaming on social media, a situation that she’s detailed before in interviews.
Winter went on to say that she’d even tried crash-dieting for a brief time “to try to fit standard” of what she felt others expected of her. “I wasn’t making anyone else happier, and I definitely wasn’t making myself any happier. It led to a lot of depression and anxiety,” she shared.
Now, in a new interview with Good Morning America, Winter says she’s come to a point in her career where she’s learned that maintaining her own happiness is more important than trying to please others.
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“I’m incredibly grateful that I have this platform, I really am,” said Winter. But with that platform has come more exposure and more (often unwanted) attention, particularly on the subject of her body, she explained.
Case in point: In 2015, Winter was ruthlessly body-shamed for posting an Instagram photo in which she posed with her two young nieces on a boat while wearing a bikini. More recently, she had to deny rumors that she was using illegal drugs or had gotten plastic surgery to lose weight, revealing that it was likely a change in her medication that led to the change in her body.
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Over the years, Winter struggled with how to address this constant speculation about her appearance. “I spent a lot of years trying to figure out who I wanted to be, what I wanted to look like—if I did this would people stop…if I did this would people stop,” she told GMA.
The one tried and true lesson she’s learned: There’s nothing you can do to please every single person in life.
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“I get a lot of messages from people, especially girls, telling me that it’s nice that they see somebody talking about, you know, weight in a positive way,” she said. “And talking about how you don’t have to fit in one small box, and that’s something that I believe.”
Ultimately, Winter believes that every person, celebrity or otherwise, deserves to be able to talk about these issues without judgment.