1 March 2019
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After a stress-filled week also riddled with unusually cold weather, I decided to unwind on Friday with binge-watching the end of the most recent season of Modern Family. Like other fans of the series, I have always been drawn to the spunk of Alex Dunphy. Luckily, I was able to have a conversation with Ariel Winter, the actress that brings Alex to life on the show.

For the Modern Family star, some of the most important aspects of life are the simpler ones: comfort, finding joy (as well as humor) in the small things, and not being too hard on yourself. To start, I wanted to know what similarities exist between Alex and Ariel, if there were any. She told me about how they are both “pretty sarcastic” and believe in the importance of education. “There’s not a ton of differences.” Ariel did point out, with a laugh, that the “main difference” between them is that she doesn’t “wear as many flannels” as Alex.

While her role as Alex is what she is most known for, Ariel also has plenty of experience with voice acting projects including a princess named Sofia in Disney Channel’s Sofia the First. Since she has had years working in both realms, I sought to find out if there was anything about voice acting she enjoyed more than her live action works. Ariel described how, with voice acting, she gets to “see a character that someone draws come to life on the screen” which is a more unique experience than live action acting. One of the main perks, as Ariel excitedly told me, is that “with voice acting you don’t have to get all dressed up. You could be in your pajamas. You could just be out of the shower with your hair in a bun and that part’s pretty awesome.”

Even when she is not voice acting, Ariel loves to stay comfortable with her choice of clothing from day to day. When asked about her personal style, she described to me how, normally, she does not stress too much about putting outfits together because she goes for “anything [she] can find that is comfortable and possibly matching.” She recounted to me how, in addition to “heeled boots,” one of her wardrobe staples would definitely be “legging pants because I’m super into comfy.”

Throughout our conversation, the emphasis on being comfortable was prominent. For Ariel, this extends beyond style. Ariel wants everyone to experience the joy of comfortability, including animals in their environments. When I transitioned the topic of conversation from her career to more personal goals she disclosed to me that a goal she is working towards is “trying to get every sheltered dog in the world adopted.” Eventually, she explained, she “would like to buy a lot of land somewhere and make my own animal shelter.” She went on to how, more specifically, she would want her personal shelter to house dogs that have been in shelters for more than a year, so these dogs could experience a more comfortable environment while waiting to be placed in a forever home.

This focus on being comfortable does not just end with environment and style, but within each person. When Ariel was asked what advice she would give her younger self she said, “To stop being so judgmental of myself” which is a piece of advice I think we should all heed, especially when it can be easy to internalize insecurities with all the negativity whirling around in the social media driven world we live in. While there can be an onslaught of unpleasantness in the media, her family keeps her inspired. “There are a lot of people that inspire me and there are a lot of amazing people in the industry. But I’d say probably people who are not in the industry inspire me more, like family members.”

Another way to lead a more positive lifestyle is to find the joy in the smaller, more mundane things. This can be anything from appreciating particularly wonderful weather on any given day to, in Ariel’s case, enjoying your favorite board game. Ariel revealed to me that, when she is not working, she is playing Settlers of Catan. “It’s kind of taken over my life.” For those of you that are not familiar, Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer board game centered around monopolizing an area through the utilization of strategy. Even though it is a multiplayer game, Ariel finds a way to play when there is not anyone available to join her. “When no one wants to play with me I play on the app with robots” which she told me might be “mildly embarrassing” to admit but that it does not matter because she enjoys playing so much.

To conclude my time speaking with Ariel, I wanted to know what she is most excited for in 2019. “I want to work more this year on different things.” Ariel explained how she wants to branch out and discover new things she likes. She has big dreams for the future and will, undoubtedly, achieve them due to her hardworking, determined nature.

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