The 21-year-old actress spoke to reporters on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif., and opened up in a big way about the growth she’s seen in herself over 11 seasons on “Modern Family.”
“Growing up in front of everybody, millions of people, is difficult. It’s stressful. Millions of people then think they can comment on your life and it’s a lot,” Winter shared. “But we do get to look back on all these memories and while it’s super awkward – incredibly awkward to look back on all these seasons that we’re like, ‘We are not in our prime’ – we still have those memories because it’s a little better than having photographs of what you looked like at that age. It’s basically, you have footage of what you looked like at that age.”
When Fox News asked the former child star if living her life in the public eye helped her develop a thick skin towards criticism, Winter paused and said she had been used to public scrutiny about the way she looks or the manner she lives her life simply because she started performing at such a young age and had grown accustomed to it.
“Yeah, I mean, I started acting when I was 4 years old. So I’ve been … [receiving] criticism, judgment, rejection – since you’re a little kid, so it kind of gives you a thicker skin to begin with,” she explained. “I feel like when I got on social media, people … not that people were just starting to bully, but it was like, at a certain time 11 years ago, people were like, ‘Oh, we’ll just say what we want.’”
She continued: “So I think going through that over the years and learning how I wanted to respond to it because I’ve responded to it in so many different ways – I’d respond back and be salty to somebody who is salty to me or I’d respond back and try and be nice about it and hope that maybe their day goes better. But then, as I got older, I developed a thicker skin and I said to myself, ‘You know, it’s going to bother me because it never goes away, but you’re still human.’ But at the same time, you just gotta remember that these people online – what they’re saying – it’s not your opinion of yourself.”
Fox News followed up with Winter and asked if she had any regrets regarding the way she might have responded to online trolls over the years, the actress didn’t hold back – but made a point to note that she’s certainly matured a great deal in more than a decade.
“No,” she maintained. “I mean, I’m sure I’ve said a couple of things that I regret being salty about. But I never wanted to hurt anybody. I never want to be mean to anybody. It’s just protecting myself, protecting the people I love because people also attack people, you know – it sucks. But I don’t think I regret anything I’ve said because honestly, everything for me is a learning experience. I learned from what I did and I moved on.”