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Ariel Winter on Mental Health, Trolls and Life After “Modern Family”

The changing seasons are always tumultuous, with storms washing away the stains of months past and nature struggling to shed or regrow. This spring has been particularly uncertain, to say the least. But in early March, when actor Ariel Winter showed up in Manhattan, it seemed spring had come early, and it wasn’t just the warm temperatures and premature blooms that indicated the shift.

On April 8, Modern Family will air its final episode, closing an 11-year chapter in Ariel’s life. The 22-year-old has played Alex Dunphy on the Emmy-winning show for exactly half of her life. With more than ten million viewers per episode, Ariel is very recognizable as Alex; she is someone viewers think they know. She has a dry sense of humor and a quick wit; she speaks fast and delivers punchlines with ease. In those ways, she’s like the character she plays on TV. But that’s where the comparison stops.

Ariel seems cognizant of the balance between performing, what people think Ariel Winter is like, and actually being Ariel Winter: She’s a smart, kind, and strong young woman who’s developeAriel is now emerging from the security of her long-running show as an adult, tasked with making her way in the world as a young woman. She’s still figuring out what that will look like.

“Life is not predictable,” Ariel tells Teen Vogue, sitting on a couch with her leg tucked under her newly red hair flowing over her shoulders. “That’s why it’s unknown and it’s scary. So I try to go with the flow as much as possible.” She’s just finished one photo shoot, and is pausing to chat before she rushes to another. “I do not like lack of control,” she adds. “I don’t like that. So that’s definitely been hard for me.”

But just because Ariel doesn’t know what the future holds doesn’t mean she doesn’t know who she is.d a thick skin over the years — but she’s not untouchable.

Some celebrities maintain a quiet, different-than-you air, even when you’re standing right next to them. But Ariel isn’t like that; she speaks easily and honestly and looks you in the eye. On a gray day in New York, stylists and makeup artists flurry around her, primping and preening her for a photo shoot. Ariel jokes with all of them, remaining flexible, working with the team to find outfits she likes. In front of the camera she moves with the confidence of someone who’s done this many times before. There’s no pretension to her.

Born Ariel Winter Workman, she grew up in Hollywood. Ariel first hit the scene at age five, in a Cool Whip commercial. After various smaller roles, she landed the part of Alex Dunphy on Modern Family, in 2009, when she was just 11, playing the nerdy middle child in a quirky but close family, often acting as the grounding presence in a head-in-the-clouds bunch. In real life, Ariel’s family life wasn’t quite as picturesque. She moved in with her sister, Shanelle Gray, when she was 14, and was legally emancipated from her mother — who she’s spoken about in the past — a year later. Continue reading “Ariel Winter on Mental Health, Trolls and Life After “Modern Family””