7 February 2019
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In a world saturated by frivolity and pretend, it’s nice to have a voice like Ariel Winter’s. Having begun acting at only four, Winter has become a fixture in global entertainment: from her multiple Disney appearances to dozens of voice-acting gigs. But it was without a doubt her role as Alex Dunphy in the comedy series Modern Family that jet-propelled her to stardom. A decade later, Winter is still in Alex’s shoes and she does not plan on stopping (if they let her, that is) but she’s also become a beacon for body-positivity in her own right. With the tenth (and reportedly last) season of Modern Family in full swing, we catch up with the actor to talk about growing into her own skin, her education and what we can expect from Alex Dunphy in the near feature.

When we chat on a transatlantic call, Winter is just ten days short of her momentous 21st birthday and her partying plans are still up in the air, though she assures they probably won’t be anything “fancy” since the occasion falls on a Monday (in the end she settled for a cake-less Dominos pizza bash). But she has clearer intentions of what to do once she’s reached her age of majority. “I want to spend my birthday week volunteering in animal shelters. I don’t know which one exactly yet,” she reveals. “I’m [also] having a birthday party in February in Vegas, because that’s where our families are from. I can finally walk on the carpet there and play a bit of poker, so that’s exciting.”

You can tell Winter is more excited about the first part of her birthday arrangement. A quick look at her social media and it’s evident to see her love for animals. “I love all animals, but especially dogs. They are the best things in the world.” Having four of her own, whom she describes as “her everything,” Winter is an ardent advocate for animal rights, often promoting animal rescue and supporting organizations such as Smiley Tails Rescue to her almost 4 million followers on Instagram.

“We have a lot of people that follow us and it’s great to talk about mundane things, but if I can talk something important that can either help a person or help an animal or just start a dialogue on something, I think that’s really important,” Winter admits of her relationship with social media. Though she declares that it has been one that’s proven to be fitfully toxic over the years.

Having been in the spotlight from a very young age, Winter has never shied away from the fact that growing into her own skin has been a journey, one she’s still embarked on. Though it may seem like she’s built up her confidence to a point where she exudes it on her social media, she’s quick to remind us we’re all human in the end. “I don’t think anybody ever becomes a hundred per cent unwaveringly confident,” Winter says. “Just because we’re human beings and we will never be perfect, and that’s better. It’s better that we never strive for perfection, and we just understand that we’re all people. Everybody has flaws, and those flaws are great. Of course: you should work on yourself as much as possible — work on loving yourself and being the best version of who you want to be. That’s what matters.” (more…)