Ever since she was criticized at the SAG Awards for wearing a dress that showed her breast reduction surgery scars, the Modern Family star, who just celebrated a big 18th birthday Jan. 28, has been opening up about the life-changing procedure.
"Women are already over-sexualized, and I grew into my body so young. I was 13, 14 years old, and I looked 19," Winter writes about suddenly being just over five feet tall and developing F-cup breasts, in an essay for Motto, a new website from the editors of Time.
"Suddenly, people didn't want to talk about my job – they just wanted to talk about my cleavage. I'd go to awards shows and the next day see everyone on the Internet telling me I shouldn't look like this and dress like that. The conversation became about my looks instead of my talent and work – everything that I didn't want."
But Winter had her own, personal reasons for undergoing the surgery.
"People may find it hard to believe, but when I got my breast-reduction surgery last year, it wasn't because of the mean comments online," she says. "It wasn't because I didn't like how I looked. Having so much weight on my frame was affecting me psychologically. I was uncomfortable and unhappy. I chose surgery because of how I felt, not because of what anyone else thought."
RELATED VIDEO: Ariel Winter Defends Showing Off Her Breast Reduction Scars at the SAG Awards
"Afterward, I automatically felt so much happier and just better physically," she says. "My back and shoulders didn't hurt anymore! The first thing I wanted to do was go clothing shopping because I was so excited to be able to find things that fit properly instead of hiding in a baggy sweater. That meant the world to me."
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