Ariel Winter has gone through more major transformations than perhaps any celebrity in recent history. Whether it’s through working out, surgery, switching the medicine that caused her to lose weight—the Modern Family actress has changed her look, like, a lot.
But that’s not a bad thing. The 21-year-old spent half of her life growing up on the set of Modern Family, and has since branched out to other things, such as voicing Penny Peterson in 2014’s animated film, Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
She’s a young celebrity who is on the up-and-up, and with that comes lots of pressure from viewers, social media, tabloids, and just regular people. Even though Alex Dunphy was clearly the smart one of the family, it’s no wonder that Ariel Winter has wanted to heighten her fashion sense and impress people.
Here are 20 pictures showcasing the transformation of Ariel Winter.
20 Starting Out Young
2009 was a big year for Ariel Winter, and what’s crazier is that she was only born in 1998. The then-11-year-old wasn’t new to acting—she’d had a small role in ER and voiced in Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. But that’s the year that ABC struck gold with Modern Family. Here is a young Ariel showing a maturity beyond her age, much as her character Alex Dunphy always did on the show.
19 Young And Sassy
When interviewed by Blast Magazine, Ariel described her experience on the Modern Family set, saying, “It’s really exciting! It’s different. It doesn’t take that much time, everything is set, and everybody is like boom-boom-boom, let’s get this done right now. It’s really different than dramatic stuff where it’s like ‘let’s take this slow.’” This was just the beginning of Ariel’s success, clearly.
18 Family Troubles
Ariel’s style continued to evolve, even when she was smack dab in the middle of some family drama in 2012. The 14-year-old announced that she had been removed from her mother’s care due to accusations of physical and emotional abuse. Winter’s older sister, Shanelle Gray, petitioned to be Winter’s guardian due to their mother’s “vile name-calling, personal insults about [her and her weight],” and more. It was mentioned that Winter’s mother might have encouraged her daughter to dress more provocatively.
17 Confident Young Lady
All of that familial turmoil made Ariel Winter into a strong, confident young lady who was wise beyond her years (again, just like Alex Dunphy). Whether it was at the behest of her mother or not, Winter did start dressing a bit more provocatively, showing off her budding assets and showing the world that she had the willpower, drive, and beauty to make it in the entertainment business.
16 As Alex Dunphy
We absolutely have to show an image of Ariel Winter as Alex Dunphy as she looked through most of Modern Family’s tenure. This was her: a short, dorky, self-conscious glasses-wearer who was always ridiculed by her older sister (but in turn joked about her sister’s dimness). She was the brains of the family, even as the second-youngest child, and was absolutely a fan-favorite.
15 A Little Bit Older On Set
As the show progressed into its later seasons, this is what Ariel Winter looked like on set. She had gained a little bit of weight, but was still the same lovably dorky character that everyone could look to (in the family) for guidance and direction, at the most important times. Judging by that stance, at this time (around season 6 or 7), Ariel knew that she was a rising star and was becoming a household name.
14 Modern Family Late Stages
As season 11 neared and Ariel Winter made her return to Modern Family for the last hurrah, people started to comment on her unexpected weight loss, which is very evident here. It came out that apparently it was Ariel switching her anti-depression medication that caused her to lose so much weight so suddenly, but she eventually bounced back in a good way, and definitely doesn’t see it as a negative.
13 Dressing More Scandalously
This was Ariel before her weight loss, but still in the late stages of her adolescence—she was a late-stage teenager and was beginning to understand the power of her looks, as you can tell. She dressed a bit more scandalously, in shorter dresses that showed off her thighs, and low-slung necks that showed off her cleavage a bit more. Soon, she’d go even beyond that.
12 The Back Problem Decision
Around this time, it was apparent that while her maturity and popularity were growing, so to were other parts of her body… namely her chest. They got so big that she started to actually lose confidence because of them, and then made the controversial decision (at least in the eyes of media tabloids nationwide) to undergo breast reduction surgery. She wanted to avoid back problems, and to not be known as “that girl.” This is a picture of her before.
11 Finding The Right Balance
After Ariel Winter went through her period of weight loss, she bounced back in a big way. Paparazzi started to see her going out and about Hollywood wearing workout gear, and in a few interviews she reported that she had managed to find a balance between her medication, workout routine, and diet, that enabled her to look how she does in this picture: healthy, happy, and confident again.
10 Growing Into Herself
Before she underwent surgery, on Modern Family she managed to hide her blossoming bosom well. This was her before, but also before she “grew into herself,” so to speak, which will be apparent by the next picture. While she’s still a buxom young lady, she’s not completely spilling out of her dress or anything, either, and has a more proportional body.
9 Growing Out Of Herself
Then she hit some kind of growth spurt that only affected one area of her life, and boy was it obvious and apparent. She did a good job of flaunting her new big boobs at galas and red carpet events, but that’s what she became known for. She wanted to be known as an actress, so this look above just simply wasn’t going to cut it for her.
8 First Low-Cut Dress Since The Big Change
This is a photo that was a bit historic in Ariel Winter’s life—it was the first time she wore a low-cut dress since going under the knife, at the 2015 Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy Party. And, even though she did that, it obviously wasn’t apparent when she wore something like this, which basically mashed everything together. If anything, it almost looked like she was even heavier in the chest, but it’s all an optical illusion… and was probably done on purpose.
7 Happy In Her Own Skin
Besides that first major change, which dropped her down from a 32-F to a 34-D, she also underwent some changes in the face and other parts of her body. Her reduction wasn’t THAT outlandish or over-the-top, as you can see that she’s still a curvy girl, but she decided to start wearing slinkier dresses and more makeup, making her almost unrecognizable in some events.
6 She Still Knew How To Flaunt It
Even as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, Ariel Winter wanted to shine in the spotlight. Even with her cosmetic work, she still wanted to wear low-cut dresses and catch people’s attention—and that wasn’t difficult to do when she wore dresses like this. Even though she isn’t purposefully showing herself off by hitching a seductive stance, it’s hard for your eyes not to look southward in photos like this.
5 A Whole New Look
Earlier this year, Ariel Winter looked barely recognizable as she went through another intense change—this one seemingly in the facial department. She dyed her hair red and partnered with Ulta Beauty to help the retail chain jumpstart their blow-dry bars sales. She did a photoshoot inside this beautiful salon, and Ariel explained to Allure.com that she partnered with Ulta for “self-empowerment, self-confidence, diversity, and inclusivity.”
4 Barely Recognizable
When this photo of Ariel Winter surfaced a little bit ago, it was clear that she had gone through some major changes. She literally looks like a different person here, and the rumors about plastic surgery and botox are obviously all over the internet. She fans also came to her defense when she shut down an internet troll who said she “obviously” got a lot of facial work done.
3 Fighting Through The Struggles
Ariel Winter has unfortunately been body-shamed and criticized for everything, basically all her life: her curly hair, her weight, her boobs, and even her face. Rude commenters always have something snide to say from the safety of their keyboards. But she’s clearly blossomed into a beautiful, powerful young woman, and the world is her oyster now that Modern Family is over. Hopefully she finds even bigger, better things on the horizon.
2 Her Most Recent Look
Most recently, Ariel Winter has been sporting this look: lean, mean, with red hair that is the envy of Tinseltown. She likes to show off her bare midriff (and why not, with a flat stomach like that?), and her curvy-yet-proportional body that is clearly in very good shape. While all of her haters wane and continue to ridicule her, she’s over here living her best life.
1 Another Look At The New Ariel
TV’s favorite little sister has grown into herself, without a doubt. While she might look unrecognizable from her time on Modern Family, she’s become her own person. Here, she channels her inner Little Mermaid—Ariel being an apropos name—with her new flashy red hair. She displayed this photo on Instagram in May of 2019, and she even captured the photo with a line from The Little Mermaid: “Part of yourrrr worrrld.”
References: people.com, pinterest.com, thelist.com