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Nolan Gould Says Modern Family Sister Ariel Winter Has Her Internet Haters 'Handled' 

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After eight years in the public eye on Modern FamilyNolan Gould and his costars have mostly learned how to take in stride all the attention — both positive and negative — that comes with being on a hit show.

Ariel Winter, his on-screen big sister, has particularly found herself under scrutiny for everything from her wardrobe choices to her personal life and her decision to delay her dreams of pursuing a career in social justice. But 19-year-old Winter, says Gould is handling the extra attention with confidence.

“It’s really cool because I’ve known her since we were 10, so I’ve kind of seen her change and blossom so much,” he told PEOPLE at Best Buddies Mother’s Day Brunch Hosted by Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber at a private residence in Malibu, California. The event featured a David Yurman pop-up shop and celebrity guests were chauffeured to the event by Cadillac cars and sipped on Casamigos.

Continued Gould, 18: “That’s true for all the kids, but especially for Ariel. In recent years, she’s been kind of this role model, this icon for self-image, and respecting your own beauty, and I think it’s great, the work she does, and I think it’s terrible all of the flack she gets on the Internet.”

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He notes, “The funny thing is, she just doesn’t even need me there to support her, because she’s just so calm and confident, like has her own thing going on. I’m there for her, but she doesn’t even need me. She’s got it handled.”

Modern Family airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.