Years back when the show first premiered, fans of the hit television show Modern Family probably didn’t care to know who Ariel Winter was. She played the cute, geeky and funny Alex Dunphy. But, with hotties on the show like Sofia Vergara and Sarah Hyland, actress Ariel Winter really didn’t receive that much attention. Today that’s all changed, we’ve watched Winter grow from a darling little lady into a smoking hot woman. All eyes have been on her with a risqué Instagram feed and curves for days. A quick Google search will reveal she grew up in Los Angeles, she and her castmates have won four Screen Actors Guild Awards and blah blah blah, that’s all the boring stuff. With a little deeper digging, you’ll find that there’s a lot more to Winter than meets the eye.
She and Alex Dunphy have a lot in common, but they’re also worlds apart. Winter is a part of a sort of confusing “modern” family herself and she’s got bigger academic dreams than most Hollywood starlets. Intrigued? Keep reading to find out 15 things you never knew about Ariel Winter.
15. She’s Only 19
There are a few things that could lead one to believe Ariel Winter is older than she actually is. For one, her character, Alex on Modern Family is a 20-year-old college student. Secondly, her Instagram feed is loaded with risqué, va va voom snaps of her in curve-baring bikinis and barely-there garments. But, the truth is, Winter is still a teenager! She’s actually barley 19. She just celebrated her birthday on January 28th. Although she’s still too young to legally order a drink, that doesn’t stop her from taking luxurious yacht vacations or hitting up Hollywood’s hottest nightclubs.
Winter is actually the same age as her co-star, Nolan Gould, A.K.A Luke Dunphy despite their character’s two-year age difference on the show. She claims that a lot of what Alex has gone though parallels her own teenage experience. Playing a college-aged character two years older actually taught her about sending in post-secondary essays and dealing with academic rejection. For example, when Alex was rejected from Harvard.
14. She Plans On Going To University
Although Winter is an incredibly successful and talented actress, she recognizes that the industry she’s in can be a little unpredictable. “I could be working now and then never work again the next 10 years,” she said in an interview. For that reason, she’s always thought that it was important to expand her horizons beyond acting. Ever since she was a kid she dreamed of one day going to university, and last year that dream came true when she was accepted to UCLA. She’ll be attending the university next school year and be majoring in political science. Watch out Trump… she’s not your biggest fan.
Winter’s celebrity and millionaire status definitely won’t make her your average undergrad. In all likelihood, if her career continues the way it’s been going she won’t even need a university degree. However, how refreshing is it to see a young star who actually gives a damn about education?
13. She Had Her Start In A Cool Whip Commercial
Winter was only four years old when her mom got her into the acting industry. She got her first notable gig when she was six appearing in a Cool Whip commercial. Following the commercial, Winter landed small roles on television shows like Listen Up!, Monk, Bones and ER. You may have also seen a young Winter in films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Grilled, One Missed Call and Speed Racer.
While she enjoys her career, she’s not sure if it’s something she would have chosen on her own. She dealt with a lot of rejection in her career at a young age which was hard for her to grasp. Her mom pushed her into the industry and it wasn’t always pretty. Winter recalls having to dye her hair black at seven-years-old because people thought it would make her more marketable for roles.
12. She Comes From A Family Of Actors
It might surprise you to find out that Winter isn’t the only actor in her family. Although she may be the most accomplished, you’ll definitely recognize some of the roles her siblings have played in. Her older sister, Shanelle Workman is a soap opera actress. You may have seen her on shows like The Bold and the Beautiful and One Life To Live. Workman is married to husband, David Gray who has appeared on Rizzoli & Isles, Castle and Criminal Minds. Her older brother, Jimmy Workman played Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family.
Ariel, Shanelle and Jimmy all share the same mother, Crystal Workman who’s been accused of pushing all of her kids hard into the acting industry. Her plan seems to have backfired because not one of the children keep in contact with her.
11. She Was Pre-Modern Family Pals With Rico Rodriguez
Prior to playing Alex and Manny on Modern Family, Winter and her on-screen step-uncle, Rico Rodriguez met on set of the 2009 film, Opposite Day. The pair were both 11 years old and allegedly hit it off as great friends. They were then cast together on Modern Family and have remained good pals. With a working relationship spanning almost 10 years, it’s not uncommon to spot them hanging out together off set. The two go on day trips together with other co-stars and attend each other’s birthday parties. They’ve even been each other’s dates to award shows. Rodriguez brought his real-life sister and Winter as dates to the SAG Awards 2016.
Rodriguez has noted that his friend and co-star is kind, talented and beautiful and that he’s had fun growing up alongside her. Who knows what these two co-star buddies will get up to next professionally, but here’s to hoping a lot more seasons of Modern Family is in there somewhere.
10. Her Mom Publicly Slammed Her Choice To Have A Breast Reduction
At 17 years old, Winter decided to change her life by having breast reduction surgery. Her F-sized breasts were causing her problems both physically and emotionally. She said the decision to have surgery was an easy one to make. She had an incredible support system in her older sister and other family members who were with her every step of the way. Winter’s mother on the other hand let the world know her disapproval of the surgery in an interview. She stated no one should be having any sort of breast augmentation at such a young age. She also said her daughter shouldn’t “flaunt her scars” referring to a dress she wore at the SAG Awards in which scars from the procedure could be seen. An attitude like this is likely one of the reasons Winter doesn’t talk to her mom in the first place— among other things of course.
9. She’s A Voice Actor
Have you ever watched an animated film and questioned “Where do I know that voice from?” Well, chances are you may have thought that about Winter’s voice… especially if you have young children or siblings. That’s because she’s also made a career in voice acting. She’s lent her voice in a number of kid’s television shows, movies and even video games.
She took on a lot of her voicing roles when she was only a kid. Major character’s she’s voiced include Gretchen from the television show Phineas and Ferb, Sofia from the television show Sofia the First and Thumper’s sister from the 2006 film Bambi II. You’ve also heard her voice in other fun animated films like Horton Hears A Who!, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Ice Age: The Melt Down. Coming out this year, we’ll hear Winter as Smurflily in Smurfs: The Lost Village.
8. She’s Dating A 29-Year-Old Actor
We’ve established that Winter looks and acts older than she actually is. Another possible factor contributing to that would be that she’s dating a 29-year-old— a guy 10 years her senior. Her boyfriend, Levi Meaden is an actor who is known for his parts in television shows Aftermath, iZombie as well as The 100. He’ll be in the upcoming film Pacific Rim: Maelstrom.
Winter got out of a two-year relationship in June with musician, Laurent Claude Gaudette. Her pal, Sterling Beaumon co-stars with Meaden on television show, The Killing, and so the couple is thought to have met through him. They lovey-dovey pair has been showing each other off to the paparazzi over the last few months, holding hands and sharing smooches. Perhaps a girl like Winter needed a more mature man in her life.
7. She Was Legally Emancipated From Her Mom
Winter had a rocky relationship with both her mother and her father growing up. At the age of four, her mother pushed her hard into the acting business. While she loves her career and has always planned to pursue it, Winter needed her mom to support her in other endeavours as well like one day going to college. She found her mother very controlling when it came to her career. There were reports that she experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse while living in the household. When Winter was 14, she moved out of her mother’s house and was then under the guardianship of her 36-year-old sister. She was eventually fully emancipated at the age of 17.
Since the emancipation has unfolded, Winter’s mother appeared on the talkshow Dr. Phil to deny all of her daughter’s allegations. Winter called the segment an attempt for her mother to make herself look better and not about making any reconciliations. The two remain at odds and do not speak.
6. She Has A Purple Belt In Taekwondo
If Winter seems like a bit of a badass to you, that’s because she is. The 19-year-old holds a purple belt in the Korean martial arts, Taewkwondo which is an intermediate level in the sport. Nailing head-kicks in matches may have been where she found a love for physical activity. Yes, she may have been genetically blessed with killer curves but you don’t get a body like hers without some hard work at the gym.
Winter works with different celebrity trainers like Gunnar Peterson to stay in shape. Paparazzi are always eager to catch her heading to her workouts in skin-tight yoga pants and cleavage-baring tank tops. She likes hitting the gym and going on hikes with friends, family members and beaus. Her favourite workout styles are weight lifting, strength training, sculpting, toning and cardio. Her regime does wonders for her body and even more for her confidence. Working with trainers like Peterson, who also sculpts the Kardashians, is probably why Winter’s Instagram is full of booty snaps and twerking videos.
5. She’s Been The Victim Of Cyberbullies
While she seems to be a highly confident woman, she didn’t become that way overnight. Through her career, Winter has been the constant victim of cyberbullies who’ve criticized her for her body. Internet trolls called her flat-chested and skinny before she developed. They called her too fat when she matured into her curves. They’ve also told her she was “asking for it” when she posted a bikini pic online. When she was younger, Winter admits reading the things people had to say about her online was devastating and damaging.
Today, Winter wears an armour built of self-assurance and acceptance when it comes to body-positivity. She embraces every inch of her body and looks amazing doing it. The more hate she receives online, the more ammunition she has to shoot back and send the message to fans to love their bodies despite rude critics.
4. She’s Feisty On Twitter
In today’s age, if you have something important, controversial or passionate to say, you take it to social media. Winter is quite accomplished at this. When she feels the need to speak out about something, she let’s her almost 3 million followers know all about it.
She has repeatedly spoken out against sexism, bullying as well as body- and slut-shamers. She’s stood up for herself and had the backs of fellow celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande when the media and the public had negative things to say about their bodies. She spoke out against homophobia when social media star, Nash Grier had some offensive things to say about the gay community. Most recently, she’s also taken to Twitter to criticize America’s favourite man right now— Donald Trump. “America, you have failed. What the actual f**k. Devastating. I won’t recognize @realDonaldTrump as our president, ever,” she tweeted.
3. She’s Buddy-Buddy With Kim K.
Kim Kardashian kind of, sort of, not really, shocked the internet with yet another one of her nude selfies last year. She received tons of hate from the public and even fellow celebrities like Bette Midler, Piers Morgan, and Chloe Grace Moretz. Moretz slammed the pic for being “slightly voyeuristic” and “inappropriate for young women to see”. Kardashian supporters were quick to back up the reality-star, one being Winter. She took to Twitter to criticize the haters for body shaming, “I think everyone, men and women, should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies– and not be criticized,” she tweeted.
Kardashian was thankful for the support and even sent Winter a bouquet of flowers and a hand-written note thanking her and saying “Women supporting other women is so powerful.” Winter posted a photo to Instagram of the flowers with the caption, “I gotchu @kimkardahian always xo.”
2. She’s In A Band
Although acting is her main niche, you might also be surprised to learn Winter has a pretty good set of pipes. She sings in a band made up by her and her best friend called Wicked Sweet. The duo actually put out a CD and released some solo tracks onto iTunes in 2010. In 2013, they posted their cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” onto YouTube hitting over 700,000 views.
A love for music is one of the similarities Winter shares with her Modern Family character, Alex Dunphy. On the show, Alex plays the cello and in a few episodes she reveals her awesome singing voice. Specifically, on a December 2015 Christmas episode Alex teams up with guest star, Andrea Martin to belt out a gorgeous version of “Silent Night”. Take a listen and you’ll see what I’m talking about, Ariel Winter is definitely a double threat.
1. She’s Not Shy About Spending Her Millions
One of the issues Winter faced with having her controlling “momager” dominate her acting career at such a young age was that she had access to the money she earned. There have been court battles between Winter and her mom in order to stop her from cashing in on her daughter’s paycheques. With Winter being an adult now, and the mommy-money drama being in the past, she’s not shy about spending her hard earned bucks on life’s finer things.
Winter’s net worth is reported to be around $7 million and she makes approximately $75 thousand per episode of Modern Family. While this may be relatively low in terms of other Hollywood starlets, it’s still more than a lot of other people make, especially at 19! A report by TMZ revealed that during one shopping spree, Winter spent around $9,000 at Chanel, $1,500 at Christian Louboutin $1,200 at Victoria’s Secret. She’s also a fan of luxury cars often sporting fancy Mercedes and most recently a Range Rover Sport.