"Growing up in the spotlight was quite possibly the worst for my self-esteem," she says. "When I started [Modern Family], I had a completely different body than what happened overnight at 12 years old. I was stick thin, I had no chest, I had no butt -- I had nothing. I was totally flat, and I was so sad about it. Then automatically, overnight, my body changed drastically. I was a D cup and had a bigger butt, and my waist was expanding. Everything was getting bigger. I automatically got this hate and judgment online."
Winter says it was her co-star, Sofia Vergara, that helped her come to accept her body transformation. "I had a great role model in Sofia growing up, with her being a curvy woman that was super proud of who she was and what she looked like," she shares. "[Sofia] could see that I was struggling a little bit with how to deal with my body, and was always trying to give me advice, like, 'Here are some brands that would look good on our body type,' or 'Wear whatever you want, and feel good about yourself.'"
See more of Ariel Winter's sexiest moments:
Ariel Winter's sexiest Instagrams of 2016
Ariel Winter's sexiest Instagrams of 2016
Getting ready for @glamourmag's Women of the Year LIVE summit! #glamourWOTY see you soon;)
Hef's 👧🏻 & her 🐰#halloween
Follow me on snap- I'll be posting my everyday adventures and maybe answering some questions sometimes ❤️🙆🏻 winter.ariel
BUTT really, don't miss a spot @kipzachary 📸: @davinaadjani #secretshoot #embraceyourcurves
Thank you so much @aquahydrate for an amazing night! @champagnepapi was absolutely incredible ❤️❤️❤️ #drake #concert
#tbt to a great weekend at @miraval_resort ❤️ #spa #trip
I couldn't bend so I had him snap #bendandsnap #photoshoot #roguemagazine
From Baccalaureate to Graduation tomorrow and then UCLA bound #classof2020 ❤️
Today's office...relax everyone it's cranberry juice and I'm wearing lady bit pasties. #DogYears #set #movie
2 million!!! Wow! I can't believe it...love you guys so much ❤️ #thankyou #love
I have a Burt shirt and you don't #throwinshade
Embrace all that you are. Don't let those outside voices become your inner voice #thisismybody #mychoice #loveyourcurves
Only a little crazy, baby 💋
Couldn't be more grateful to @shanelle_gray & @davidbarrygray for throwing me the most amazing graduation party ever last night...the amount of love and support they've shown me for the past four years has been life changing. My sister is my absolute best friend and my everything...❤️ Thank you so much. I couldn't be luckier or more grateful. I was in awe last night and I still am that you guys love me that much to do all of that for me...I never would be where I am today without you two...you guys saved me and taught me to be the person I am today. Dad...I love you!!! Thank you for always being there to support and love me as well and always put a smile on my face no matter what :). I'm so grateful for the bond we now share. Alenah the song you put together with Shanelle and recorded for me was one of the most special gifts I've ever received. I'm still tearing up thinking about it. Thank you for that and for your beautiful, special performance. Also a big thank you so much to Geraldine for putting it all together and to @contemporarycatering @robpauerful for the most amazing food! A special thank you as well to Sharon who is probably the biggest reason I was able to get through high school and accepted into college...you pushed me to always do my best and encouraged me...not to mention you were always there for my 1am freak outs about late projects :) Anddddd thank you SO MUCH to all of my amazing family members and friends that flew in to celebrate with us- you guys are the absolute best. Thank you also to the ones who didn't have to fly in...so much love was felt all around last night. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! Class of 2016...❤️ #uclabound
I don't know who made this of me but....yaaaassss 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
Hello UCLA, 4s up 😌 #graduation
Hands up if you're feelin' yourself today too 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽 #friday
Found a hedgehog on #set this morning 🙂
Boo you whore 🖕🏼#meangirls #cosmo #blonde
Actual day 1 with Burt ❤️ #film #set #dogyears
Me + Burt = Dog Years
Go see it 👊🏼👌🏼ALSO: Peep Brian in the back throwin' some serious shade. Just sayin'.
Winter also credits her older sister, Shanelle Workman, whom she lives with, for encouraging her to be comfortable in her own skin. "I look up to her so much," she gushes. "I would listen to her talk to me, saying, 'It doesn't matter what other people think. You are who you are. It's not going to change. Love yourself for who you are. People are going to hate regardless of what you do. You could conform to everything they say, and they're still going to find something to pick. Or you could be yourself and be happy and not listen to what they say.'"
Winter decided to get a breast reduction when she was 17 -- her surgical scar can be seen in the photos for SELF -- and since then, has been outspoken on social media about loving one's body. "I think people make a lot of judgments about me based on what I wear and all the things that I do," she explains. "They kind of glorify and objectify a lot of the things that I do, and I wish people would just see me as the normal 18-year-old that I am. I'm doing the same things that everybody my age is doing."
When speaking to ET, Winter further defended the risque selfies she shares on Instagram and Snapchat. "Everybody is so hyped up on the fact that I post photos where my butt's out. It's a butt. Everyone has a butt," she said. "It's like, 'Let me live! I'm enjoying my life, you're enjoying your life, you should be posting your butt if you like it, too!'"