It took nearly a decade to get here, but Ariel Winter is finally living her best life, a life she's living by her standards.
The actress has essentially grown up before our very eyes, having been cast in "Modern Family" when she was just 11 years old. Now 21, Ariel is opening up about the body shaming she endured over the years and how it affected her self esteem.
"I've faced body shaming and cyber bullies for about seven or eight years now that I've been in the spotlight," she told Shape. "At 11 years old, I started working on the show and I was super flat and had no curves and was getting hate for that. Then overnight, my body changed and I was this curvy woman. I didn't know how to navigate that and got so much hate for it. It was really hurtful, and I struggled a lot."
Because of the comments, Ariel began trying to please her critics.
"I tried to crash diet to lose weight to try to fit the standard of what I thought everyone wanted me to look like, and it just never worked — I wasn't making anyone else happier, and I wasn't making myself any happier," Ariel said. "It led to a lot of depression and anxiety. But now I'm at the point where I've stopped reading Instagram comments. I do what I want, I post what I want, and I say what I want. I don't focus on pleasing anyone else but myself."
Ariel's body has long been an online topic of conversation, especially when, at 17 years old, she got a breast reduction to relieve back pain. At the time, some people criticized her for the decision to go from a 32F to a 34D.
"I think it's ridiculous that [because I've had breast reduction surgery] or because someone is losing weight that they don't love their body. People should be able to love their bodies at all stages, whatever their body looks like," Ariel said. "I got a lot of confused people after my surgery being like, 'Well, you're trying to tell people to love their bodies just the way they are, but you got a breast reduction,' and you know, the thing is, my body was great back then but I did something because I felt it was better for me."
"I had back problems, and I felt I wasn't right in my own skin, so I made the change for me," she continued. "I didn't do it because people were writing negative comments online. As long as you do something that matters to you and makes you feel better, and raises self-esteem, then people shouldn't hate on that. The most important relationship we have is with ourselves."