"Modern Family" star Ariel Winter has grown up on camera for all the world to see. The 19-year-old actress, who plays the brainy Alex Dunphy, opened up to TODAY Style about how she's learned to love her curves and why she's not sorry she chose plastic surgery. We're sharing her wise words for "Love Your Body" week.
My favorite body part of my body 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.
It's been a long journey to being able to find confidence, honestly.
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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 D-cups 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 felt like I couldn’t win at all.
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 see how confident she was in her body and how much she embraced her curves.
And then, I have my sister — who is a completely unapologetic, confident person (she's secure enough to go to the store in pajamas or to an event in a ball gown).
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.
It feels really amazing to be able to pay it forward. I want to be able to be that hero for someone else.
Once I started to speak out, I faced more backlash: How dare I get plastic surgery? How could I be somebody who's confident in her body and also get 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.
So, here's my advice to others hoping to love a certain 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 in which you feel confident. Do what's right for you and stay strong.
As told to TODAY's Brooke Sassman.
This article was originally published on Oct. 17, 2016 on TODAY.com.