Ariel Winter already candidly explained exactly why her body has changed over the last year — her weight dropped after changing up her antidepressants — but she’s still dealing with body shamers who accuse her of getting plastic surgery.
The Modern Family star, 21, doesn’t owe people a response, but she says that it’s important to her that she defends herself.
“If you don’t stand up for yourself, who’s going to stand up for you?” Winter told PEOPLE exclusively at the Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE Upfronts party in New York on Monday night. “Sometimes I stand up for myself a little too much but I’m doing it.”
Winter decided to defend herself last week after an Instagram commenter said it was “obvious” she had extensive plastic surgery.
“How many surgeries have you had on your body and face now?” the person wrote, before deciding that Winter had “Two breast reductions, that’s obvious, cheek bone and chin shaving and lip fillers. Pretty obvious, she looks so different #Truth.”
Winter initially let the rude comment go, but then decided to set the record straight.
“I wasn’t going to reply but I HAVE to ask…what the f— is cheek bone and chin shaving????” she responded. “You’re also wrong about all of it by the way 🙂 one breast reduction and I lost weight but you do you boo.”
Winter said that commenters tends to “feel like they know people” like her because they watch her on TV, and believe that they can pass judgement.
“They don’t know people, they know them as a persona onscreen that they see,” she continued to PEOPLE. “On Instagram, people see a photo every once in a while or they see something that a paparazzi took — they don’t know that person. It can get really frustrating when you see things that are untrue or things that are hurtful or even some things that private things that don’t need to be out there.”
Winter added: “It’s nice for all of the fans and the supporters who are kind and supportive, it’s fantastic, but people are quick to judge things that they see on the small screen, it’s difficult.”
And there is another problem with speaking out — people accuse Winter of being “bitchy,” though she doesn’t mind.
“People think you’re bitchy when you stand up for yourself,” she said. You know what? It’s not bitchy, it’s bossy and it’s my body and I get to be that way and there’s nothing bitchy about standing up for yourself and being real. I have no problem with it. I’m boss bitch, we’re all boss bitches.”
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Plastic surgery is one of the many things people have accused Winter of doing to lose weight. In January, she had to shut down another critic who said she was doing drugs.
She sarcastically responded, “Yes!! My psychiatrist switched me from my previous antidepressant that didn’t work and made me gain weight, to coke/meth!! Definitely not a new one that worked and then regulated my metabolism. Coke/meth was a controversial decision but she stands by it.”
“I started the process again and was able to find a great combination of medication that works for me,” she explained in April. “The change in medication instantly made me drop all of the weight I couldn’t lose before by just giving me back a metabolism. That was very unexpected.”
Winter said that she’s feeling much better now, but admitted to missing some of her curves.
“While I feel better mentally with the change, and it’s nice to work out and have your body actually respond, but I want to gain a few pounds of muscle and get healthier,” she said. “Also want my butt back…”
- With reporting by MARY PARK