Almost out of nowhere, Ariel Winter has become one of the smartest teen stars on the block.
It all started last August, when the Modern Family star opened up about her choice to have breast reduction surgery. Her smart, reasoned take stood as a smart counter to conventional, juvenile thinking about what the operation entails. She took control of her own narrative and did some good in the process.
Since then, Winter’s been a smart, urgent voice on multiple issues — most potently, about body-image and rejecting objectification of any kind. These are just five instances where Winter raised her voice and made sure the world listened.
When she revealed her breast reduction surgery
Though Winter has written and spoken powerfully about her surgery decision since, her first interview with Glamour sticks out even now for both its intelligence and how clearly she grasped the situation.
"We live in a day and age where everything you do is ridiculed," she said at the time. This interview didn’t stop the ridicule — but as evidenced below, she knew how to handle it.
When she owned her surgery scars
In January, Winter took talk of her surgery even further by explaining why she wasn’t trying to hide the evidence of it. At the Screen Actors Guild awards, she bared her scars in a dress; on Twitter, she explained the decision.
"They are part of me," she said. "I’m not ashamed of them at all.
When she wrote an essay about her surgery
In a piece for Motto, a magazine off-shoot, Winter wrote at length about her choice to have the surgery. She framed the choice not as a response to online hate, but as a choice for her own well-being.
"People may find it hard to believe, but when I got my breast-reduction surgery last year, it wasn’t because of the mean comments online," she wrote. "It wasn’t because I didn’t like how I looked. Having so much weight on my frame was affecting me psychologically. I was uncomfortable and unhappy. I chose surgery because of how I felt, not because of what anyone else thought."
When she and Ariana Grande stood together against trolls
Winter’s clapbacks weren’t always solo, either. In one case, singer Ariana Grande was also the target of an inappropriate comment online. Grande knocked him back, and Winter added her voice.
"I celebrate everyone for who they are because that is what makes them beautiful," she wrote in an Instagram caption reposting Grande’s comments. "You are beautiful."
When she spoke out against shamers on her Instagram
Instagram is a powerful tool in Winter’s hands. After a photo with her nieces attracted comments about her looks — specifically, that her bikini was too revealing and that she was "asking for it" — she hit back hard in a new post.
"I typically never give power to the mean things people bravely say behind their computer screens on the internet, but this is for the girls who are constantly bullied," she wrote, adding, "Celebrate you, and don’t let anyone’s comments allow you to think less of yourself."