This past Wednesday evening, a small group of women in NYC gathered in the pristine white space of Lightbox Studios for an event promoting Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign. Because the mission behind the #SpeakBeautiful initiative is to promote positivity online in the face of trolls and body-shamers, Dove handpicked speakers known for their ability to maintain poise and confidence, even when faced with the kind of vitriol only the internet can bring.
This particular event featured a #SpeakBeautiful squad consisting of comedian and activist Franchesca Ramsey, aka Chescaleigh, known for her popular Youtube videos cleverly deconstructing racism; Blogger and founder of Hispana Global, Jeanette Kaplun; author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards; and the Modern Family star, outspoken feminist, and Instagram favorite we love so much, Ariel Winter.
We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Ariel before the event to chat about her partnership with Dove, but more importantly — her personal relationship with the body-positive movement.
HelloGiggles: One of my favorite things about your social media presence is how open you are. How do you personally draw the boundaries between what you’ll share with people and what you won’t?
Ariel Winter: I don’t really have boundaries on what I will and won’t share at this point, the only thing I won’t share is specific locations I’m going to. Other than that, I’m pretty open about everything. I think the age I’m at there are a lot of young women who relate to me online, and I like to stay open for them.
HG: What’s your favorite part of having a large social media platform?
AW: It’s amazing because there are so many issues I feel are so important. You know, before I had a platform and following I had so many ideas and opinions and nowhere really to share it. Now I think it’s really amazing that I’m able to speak out about what I care about, and hopefully make a difference in some girls’ lives.
HG: Have you received lots of messages from girls who were encouraged by the way you speak out?
AW: Oh yeah, definitely. My favorite thing is when I speak to women who say, “Because of your story, I found the strength to get a breast reduction myself,” or when they say that my body confidence inspired them to take the time and have that relationship with their bodies, and build that necessary confidence. I think the best is when you hear young women saying they’re going to start using the internet in a more positive way. It’s so important, and that’s part of the Dove initiative, and my partnership with them — making sure we can #SpeakBeautiful on the internet, instead of using so much negativity.
HG: Do you have anyone who inspires you personally when it comes to body positivity?
AW: My sister has always been one of the most incredible support systems for me. She was always that person who was so confident in themselves. Regardless of whether she was going to a business meeting, or the grocery store in her flip-flops and pajamas, or an event in a ballgown, she always really loved herself no matter what. It was really amazing for me to grow up with someone like that. I also was lucky to grow up with Sofia Vergara as a role model, who led by example — teaching me to appreciate and accept the way I look and having a curvy body.
HG: What’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger version of yourself?
AW: I spent a lot of time trying to conform to what people wanted, I was getting a lot of hate on Instagram and on all these social platforms, and I was always wondering what I was doing wrong. So I wasted a lot of time crash-dieting and attempting to find ways to fit other people’s standards. Eventually I got to a point where I realized they wouldn’t be happy no matter what. So I just decided to focus on making myself happy, because that’s what is most important.