"Modern Family" star Ariel Winter has grown up on camera for all the world to see. The 18-year-old star, who plays the brainy Alex Dunphy, opens up to TODAY Style on how she learned to love her curves and why she's not sorry she chose plastic surgery.
My favorite body part of mine is my butt.
I know that sounds funny, and I know that people probably don’t always pick their butt. But I do! I’ve always liked big butts and I’ve always been proud of having one.
Of course, it's been a long journey to being able to find confidence, honestly.
I grew up in the spotlight. I started out on the show when I was 11 years old and I was completely flat-chested. Pretty much overnight, I transformed into what I felt like was a completely different person. I suddenly had a D-cup and my body was filling out, and it was really hard for me accept a lot of the criticism I faced online. First, I was getting criticism for being completely flat everywhere, and then I started getting criticism for filling out. I kind of felt like I couldn’t win at all.
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It was really difficult for me. I was insecure for a long time, and then I got to a point where I had a lot of really wonderful role models.
I had Sofia Vergara, for one thing. Growing up working with her was amazing because I got to learn from how confident she was in her body, and with her curves.
And then, to have my sister — who is a completely, unapologetic confident person (she's super secure going to the store in pajamas or going to an event in a ball gown, you name it) — I’ve really had great role models to look up to and learn from.
After a while, I started to tell myself: People are going to comment regardless of what I do, so I’d rather be happy, do what I like and be who I am. And be happy.
It feels really amazing to be able to pay it forward. I want to be able to be that hero for someone else.
Then there was the backlash. How dare I get plastic surgery? How could I be somebody who's super confident in their body also got plastic surgery? Here's how: I got it because I needed it. I needed it, I wanted it, I feel better about myself with it. I feel like I’m the way I’m supposed to be.
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So, my advice to others hoping to love this or that part of themselves: Never do something because somebody else says you should. Never change anything because someone else says it will make you better. Always do something because it’s your own choice and because you feel right about it. And follow your own heart. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true.
Every decision you make should be one you feel confident about. Do what's right. And be strong.
As told to TODAY's Brooke Sassman and Rebekah Lowin.