Ariel Winter should be your next life coach.
The Modern Family and Dog Years star, who has 3 million Instagram followers, posts plenty of racy photos of herself in skimpy bikinis. She loves her curves. And that’s what matters to her.
“I feel like people put so much emphasis on it. Guys, all the time, go on their Instagrams and take pictures nude with guitars in front of their stuff. No one says anything. Nobody cares,” the 19-year-old tells Yahoo Style. “When we try to be free and post what we want, it’s like, look at that slut on social media. That’s not what it is. We’re proud of our bodies. We’re proud of who we are. We’re made the way we are. Why do we care? If I take a picture and I think it looks good — if it’s a little revealing, whatever.”
So haters, or trolls, if you have issues with what you’re seeing, look elsewhere. “If people don’t like it, unfollow me. If you’re so offended, why do you look at it? Don’t take the time to hate on me. Just unfollow me and follow someone who covers every part of their body to their toes. I don’t care,” she says.
As for those celebs who say they take enforced breaks from social media, even deleting apps from their phones so they don’t obsessively check comments, Winter can’t relate. To her, it’s all a bit much. The key to happiness is living your life in balance.
“Just don’t open it for a few days. Just leave it be. Sometimes I’ll go days or weeks without posting. I try to update my followers on what I’m doing. It makes me feel closer to them. I’ve never felt the need to take a break from it like that. Just put your phone down and enjoy the things in life,” she says.
Winter’s emotional equilibrium stems from her years in front of the camera, and from finding stability away from set. She’s dealt with fame “just by going through it. I’ve had a lot of time now to just go through the highs and lows of it. The people around me keep me grounded in what’s going on. I’m aware of it, but I’m not invested in it. It’s not taking over my life. I focus less on the celebrity aspect of my job. I’d love to continue being an actress but I didn’t get into the industry so I could be on magazines.”
Winter seems self-assured and easygoing in person.
In 2015, she underwent breast-reduction surgery, something she was open about from the start, going down from an F-cup. It got rid of her back pain, and made her feel better about herself. And she’s proud of her scars, making no attempt to hide them at the 2016 SAG wards. “Guys there is a reason I didn’t make an effort to cover up my scars! They are part of me and I’m not ashamed of them at all,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I try and feel confident all the time. It’s hard to. I’m still a teenage girl, and being a teenage girl is hard. I try my best to feel confident regardless. I had a great role model in my sister. She never not feels confident. She tried to teach me to have that confidence in myself at all times, not just when I get my hair and makeup done,” says Winter.
You see a very different side of her in Dog Years. Winter, most famous for playing studious do-gooder Alex Dunphy on Family for eight seasons and counting, takes on a darker, grittier role in the melancholy drama starring Burt Reynolds. The lesson from the film: “You can’t take things for granted in life. When you get to the end, you can’t change anything,” she says.
Another aspect of it also resonated with Winter, who’s been through her share of personal struggles; at age 14 the young actress moved in with her older sister, Shanelle Workman-Gray, after their mother was accused of physical and emotional abuse in 2012.
In the film, says Winter, “My character is struggling with mental health issues. I’ve gone through that my entire life. I’ve struggled with that my whole life. I liked that it was putting a spotlight on mental illness.”
Her life off-screen is much happier these days. Winter, accompanied by her boyfriend, Levi Meaden, shows off photos of the miniature Australian shepherd puppy they’re getting, to join their brood of two canines already living at home. To her, that’s what matters in life. As for trolls: whatever.
“Literally, I don’t care. What’s the point? I’m just making another negative comment like they have. Whatever. Sometimes I’ll reply with something nice to them when they’ve written something mean. Really, I just ignore it,” she says.
Style-wise, she’s also found her footing.
“When I was younger, 10, 11, 12, those were some pretty bad outfits. I remember earmuffs on the red carpet one time. They looked ridiculous,” she says, adding that she also couldn’t hear anything while wearing them. “I loved the SAG awards this year — I loved the gold dress.”
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