Ariel Winter has never been shy about her unapologetic brand of feminism and self-love. In fact, you can regularly find the Modern Family star wielding her various social media platforms like a finely honed weapon, taking down trolls wherever she finds them. Whether it’s defending Kim Kardashian from the hordes shading her latest nude selfie, talking candidly about her breast reduction surgery that inspired her shift towards embracing her own physique, or just getting super dressed up for an otherwise low-key affair, Winter encourages women to accept themselves, flaws and all, while making space for other women to do the same. So unsurprisingly, when she sat down for an interview with Refinery29 she was just as fearless and open, talking about everything from her passion for a good seaside smoky eye to the ways Donald Trump is toxically impacting the female population.
But first things first, the actress makes it clear yet again that she couldn’t care less what you have to think about her latest swimsuit-clad photoshoot and mile-long lash extensions, telling the website, “I’m definitely a makeup at the beach person, and I don’t care if people think I look ridiculous — it’s my beach day!” She adds, “Whether I want to go natural or with makeup or in sweatpants, that’s up to me. People are so stressed out about how they’re going to look in their bathing suits that they forget to go to the beach because they want to go to the beach, which defeats the whole purpose. The beach should be a safe space.”
However, Winter’s ability to confidently rock a two-piece, a full-face of contoured makeup, or a waist-length pink wig wasn’t something she inherited naturally, but rather something she learned growing up in the public eye. The actress explains, “I went through a lot of hate online, so I tried to change myself for a really long time. But people just kept hating on me no matter what I did.” At a certain point, however, she realized she couldn’t make everyone happy all the time, so, “I decided that instead of pleasing these other people, I’ll just spend that time pleasing myself. Those people are going to be rude to me regardless of what I do, so I should just try and be happy with what I am.”
But just because she’s been an outspoken advocate for the acceptance of women of all shapes and sizes in Hollywood doesn’t mean it always comes easy. “It’s hard to be positive about your body all the time,” she says. “I know because I’m honest about my insecurities that people think I’m 100% 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.”
But according to Winter, it’s not just the toxic self-talk and Internet shaming that women have to overcome, it’s also the lessons that are being passed down from our government directly. She says, “Our leadership is really anti-women right now. 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.”