Ariel Winter on Her Disney Princess Alter Ego: She's Teaching Young Girls What It's Like to 'Be a Strong Woman'

Ariel Winter spoke to PEOPLE about Sofia the First during Disney's D23 Expo

Photo: Chris McPherson

Ariel Winter knows about the benefits of strong female role models.

The Modern Family star chatted with PEOPLE at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, on Saturday about Princess Sofia, the titular character that she voices for Disney Junior’s Sofia the First.

“I love Sofia because she’s a great role model for young girls,” Winter, 17, said. “Because I love that she educates them on what it is to be a strong woman. I know she’s very young but she’s teaching girls at a very young age. And I love that.”

The actress continued, “I also love that she educates them in a way that they want to learn by having fun with them and teaching them things like getting along with your family and your brothers and sisters and being social out in the world. I think she’s a really good role model.”

Winter’s stop at D23 marked her first public appearance since opening up about her recent breast reduction surgery. During the fan event, the actress joined a live-action version of her cartoon character to read from a Sofia the First book to a group of young fans.

Winter opened up about her recent surgery during an interview with Glamour.

“[My chest size] made me feel really uncomfortable, because as women in the industry, we are totally oversexualized and treated like objects,” Winter said of the body bullying and physical pain that she endured before undergoing surgery.

“I was 15 years old with [size] F [breasts],” Winter said. “How do you navigate that?”

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On Friday, Winter’s Modern Family co-star (and onscreen dad) Ty Burrell told PEOPLE at D23 that he’s impressed by the levelheaded young star.

“You know, I think the world of Ariel and just think that she’s just so grounded,” he said.

Reporting by MARY GREEN

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