Ariel Winter isn’t about that unrealistic “beach body” ideal.
The 19-year-old actress recently sat down with Refinery29 to discuss her role as Alex on “Modern Family,” how she’s dealt with critics in her rise to fame and her journey to self-acceptance and body love. The interview is part of R29’s new Take Back The Beach series, which debunks the dreaded notion that a woman needs a “beach body” (i.e. a thin body that conforms to often unachieavable standards of standards of beauty) in order to happily wear swimsuits in the summer.
Winter told R29 that loving your body all the time is hard work and that’s OK; the beach “should be a safe space” either way, she said.
“It’s hard to be positive about your body all the time,” she said. “I know because I’m honest about my insecurities that people think I’m 100 percent positive about my body all the time, but I’m not. I get really uncomfortable, too. But I just remind myself that this is the body I was given. This is who I am.”
The “Modern Family” actress also spoke about body positivity in the context of the Trump administration. President Trump is notorious for objectifying women: He fat-shamed a former Miss Universe and called her “Miss Piggy;” he said that a woman must be attractive in order to be a journalist; and he’s also openly fat-shamed and criticized multiple famous women for their looks and weight.
“Our leadership is really anti-women right now,” Winter told R29. “Thanks to Donald Trump, we’re being objectified and made to feel bad about ourselves, so I think it’s really important for women to stick together and do the opposite of that; to let their bodies be seen and be heard, and to empower each other; to remind each other that what they look like is not the only thing that’s important when it comes to who they are.”
And unfortunately, the young actress knows all too well what it’s like to be objectified by critics. Winter has been the target of relentless body-shaming, whether it’s about wearing revealing dresses or her breast reduction scars.
Winter told R29 that her 2015 breast reduction surgery helped her feel more comfortable in her skin.
“When I got the breast reduction it helped me feel so much better about my body. I used to have full-scale meltdowns in bathing suit shops because there was nothing I could find to wear. I always felt like crap about myself,” she told R29. “... My best friend, she’s super tall and skinny and she’ll wear the same bathing suit as me, but people will automatically look at me and call me out as a slut or write headlines about ‘Ariel Winter’s cleavage.’ Meanwhile they look at her like, ‘Oh she looks so cute!’ But I’ve learned to not care about that as much. I’m comfortable in a bathing suit, scars and all.”
Head over to R29 to read Winter’s full interview.