Teen Hollywood star Ariel Winter has gone public about undergoing a largely undiscussed procedure for young women – breast reduction surgery – revealing that health concerns, but also unwanted attention, led to her decision.
Winter is best known for her role on Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family. She also voices the title role in Disney's animated series Sofia the First.
An actress since the age of six, the petite, 5'1" Winter matured in the public eye.
"I was 15 years old with [size] F [breasts]...How do you navigate that?" the 17-year-old told Glamour magazine in an exclusive interview about her decision.
As her public profile expanded with her career success, she became increasingly uncomfortable with the focus on her breasts, including by major media outlets.
"That's pretty much all I was known for and that upset me. It made me feel really uncomfortable because as women in the industry, we are totally oversexualized and treated like objects," she said.
"Every article that has to do with me on a red carpet always had to do with 'Ariel Winter's Crazy Cleavage!' Or 'Ariel Winter Shows Huge Boobs At An Event!' That's all people would recognize me by, not, 'Oh, she does great work on Modern Family.'"
In addition to suffering physical pain from back and neck problems, the young actress said she was being passed over for age-appropriate roles because of her chest. Her bust also led to wardrobe challenges, from occasionally having to be "strapped" down to shoot Modern Family to being dressed in much more mature clothing for her red carpet appearances.
After undergoing the procedure in June, Winter said she wanted to speak out since she feels healthier and happier – a positive body message she hopes to convey to other young girls and teens.
"There's some good that can come from [telling] my story. It's something that I did to better my life and better my health and I think that that can benefit a lot of young girls," she said.
"I am living a dream that a lot of girls my age would love to be living, and I'm aware of that. I'm really grateful that I'm able to do that and have a voice that I'm able to speak to teenagers. I don't want to do anything to mess that up."