Ariel Winteris only 19, but she’s gone through more than most ever will!
The sitcom star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about what it’s been like growing in the spotlight, and she didn’t shy away from all of its downfalls.
Especially with how she implies her mom, Crystal Workman, pushed her into the industry.
Estranged from her after allegations of physical and emotional abuse, at 14, the courts put her into the custody of her older sister, Shanelle Gray.
But Ariel recalled a “very, very restricted” diet, being pressured to get gigs:
“You don’t get to mess up when you have somebody around you who is constantly watching.”
And being sexualized from the age of seven, like when she was being dressed in “the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen”:
“People thought I was 24 when I was 12. If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes.”
Winter, who regularly goes to therapy now and is on medication to treat depression, also pointed out her semicolon tattoo, which symbolizes Project Semicolon’s suicide awareness and prevention. She explained:
“I went through a really rough period, a really bad chapter.”
In 2012, the actress’ home environment was brought to L.A.’s Child Protective Services by her on-set teacher.
Even before then, the teen was also getting social media hate, revealing she tried conforming to what she thought they wanted:
“It was automatically ‘You’re a fat slut.’ ‘You’re a whore.’ I was like, ‘Maybe I’m going to lose some weight, dye my hair, change how I dress… Maybe I’m doing something wrong.’ I actually got more hate by trying to change.”
Now, she does her own thing!
The UCLA college student is balancing classes with Modern Family filming, but it’s not for the reasons you may think:
“I definitely want to continue being an actress. I love it. The reason I’m going to college is because I do want knowledge in another field. College isn’t the college experience for me. I’m not going to be in a sorority, I’m not going to network, I’m not even really going to make my lifelong friends. I’ve had the career experience. I’ve had the experience of taking care of myself. I’m going to college because I genuinely want to learn.”
Ariel hopes to start a charity to help abused children and adults with mental illness:
“Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today. I still respect the people that hurt me.”
[Image via The Hollywood Reporter.]