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How Ariel Winter Overcame Internet Bullying to Embrace Her Personal Style: 'I'm Unapologetic About It Now'

Updated

Ariel Winter for Dove
Colleen Kratofil
Colleen Kratofil

Ariel Winter has been a very vocal champion of body positivity. She shows off her figure in revealing outfits and Instagram posts and often speaks out about loving her curves and her body, but now she’s taking her message off of Instagram and to the masses, thanks to her new partnership with Dove. She teamed up with the beauty brand to front its new #SpeakBeautiful campaign designed to fight online negativity. So PeopleStyle caught up with her to learn all about her new gig and how hurtful online comments influenced her style — for good and bad.

How has your style changed since you were first thrown into the spotlight at the beginning of Modern Family?
I feel like my style has always been the same but I never really dressed for my style when I was younger. When I was 11 years old and I started on the show I was completely flat everywhere. I had no curve. It was easy to dress — I’d just slip something on and run out the door. [Then] I turned 12 and my body changed drastically. I suddenly had huge boobs and my butt was filling out.

And not that I wasn’t excited — I was — but the [comments] that I got online from people really changed the way I felt about myself so it was harder for me to dress. I would put something on that I felt good in, and that was my style, which is edgy and sexy, and I would get tons of hate [from people] calling me a slut, or [saying] that I looked fat, or how could I dress like this. Everybody hated it and it was really hard. So for years I tried to change the way I dressed. I tried to conform a little bit to what I thought people wanted and it didn’t work out. Because it never really felt like I was winning with anybody. So after a while I really just started to not care. I started to wear what I liked … It definitely evolved. I tried every style to see which fit. But I’m just really glad that I found my style now, and I wear and it and I’m unapologetic about it.

RELATED PHOTOS: Last Night’s Look: Love It or Leave It?

Do you read the comments on your social media posts?
I used to read them a lot. I would go through a be really disappointed when I would see people’s mean comments. But now I post a photo that I like and if other people don’t like it, oh well. You need to get to that point where you post a photo for yourself. Yeah, tons of other people are going to see it but you should feel good about whatever you post. At the end of the day, you really need to have that relationship with yourself where you can look at the photo and be like, ‘I look great.’ And that’s it. And if someone else doesn’t think I look great, than that’s their opinion. My thing is that I feel good about myself and that’s what’s important. That’s what we’re really trying to accomplish — that relationship with yourself.

Why is it important for you to be a part of the Dove #SpeakBeautiful campaign?
A lot of young women don’t know how to use the Internet positively and I think it’s one of the most important things that we can teach. Nowadays it’s so hard to grow up in this age of negativity. People online are able to hide behind a computer screen and type whatever they want to somebody and not have to deal with the emotions that come with it. I think it’s really incredible that Dove is working so hard to change that for young women everywhere — and young men — to be able to grow up feeling good about themselves and spreading positivity everywhere. It’s really incredible to be able to work with them and to hear the stories of the young women who are working really hard to be positive with themselves.

🆘

A photo posted by ARIEL WINTER (@arielwinter) on

Why should women — and parents — check out the hashtag, #SpeakBeautiful?
It’s really amazing and empowering to read that a lot of young women are going through this body confidence journey. It’s really helpful to be able to know that you’re not alone in it. A lot of young women who are getting together to speak about things that are really important, [like] body confidence. It’s really important for parents to learn how to raise their daughters to feel good about themselves and for daughters to be able to speak to their parents and their peers positively about themselves, to change the conversation. That’s what the project is really looking to accomplish.

☀ready to #relax in the #spa #getaway #sister #trip

A photo posted by ARIEL WINTER (@arielwinter) on

Who are your favorite celebrities to follow on social media?
Chrissy Teigen is one of my favorite people to follow; I think she’s so fun and so positive and I love the Snapchats she posts of her and her baby. They’re the cutest thing ever. I love her and John [Legend]’s relationship. I love all the food she makes; it looks incredible. She’s a really great person and you don’t see that all the time. Somebody who has such a great family life, such a great relationship with herself. It’s just so fun and real — and that’s what’s important. I really appreciate that she does seem to post for herself and I think that that’s really inspiring.

If you could swap closets with one celebrity, who’s would it be?
I would take any of the Kardashian/Jenners’ closets. They have absolutely everything. All of their outfits are incredible.

[Editor’s note: In fact, she has such similar tastes to the family, she had a Fashion Faceoff with Kylie Jenner at the 2016 Emmys, though she says that she didn’t even realize Kylie had worn the same dress just a few days earlier. She walked us through some of her other most major style moments — check out the whole gallery here!]

What do you think of Dove’s new campaign?