Ariel Winter says growing up in the spotlight has been "rough".
The 22-year-old actress had her "awkward" teenage years play out in front of millions after she rose to fame playing Alex Dunphy on 'Modern Family' for 11 seasons, beginning when she was just 11 years old.
Now, Ariel has said it's "not easy" growing up in the spotlight, especially in the age of social media, as it meant she was subjected to online abuse from a young age.
She said: "It's not very easy, just because people think that just because you're on TV, they're entitled to your life. It's even worse with social media, because people can just say anything they want. So that was rough because I feel like I got on social media right at the start of it becoming big, and I was really young, and people were just figuring out how to bash people online. It was rough going through all of my awkward stages, all of my different stages, because I really changed a lot over the course of 11 years."
Despite her childhood fame not being "ideal", Ariel insists she's "grateful" for her acting career.
She added: "It was definitely not favourable to have millions of people feel like they're entitled to comment on how I look or what I'm doing or anything like that. So I don't think it's ideal. I'm obviously grateful that I do what I do and I got to do what I did, but I do think that growing up on TV and growing up in front of millions with social media is a little rough."
And Ariel can also see the positives in her early rise to fame, as she believes being thrust into the spotlight as a youngster has helped her prepare for adult life.
Speaking to People magazine, she explained: "I think you learn so much over the course of 11 years, but you learn so much when you are thrust in the life of the public eye and have people's opinions on you at every moment and people watching to catch every mistake you make or literally anything you do. I think it kind of builds a thicker skin.
"I think as a woman in this industry, and also just in general, it is important to be able to build that sense of confidence and sense of self. Obviously, it's different for everyone, not everyone has the same experience of getting to that, but I think that, for me, it's been very helpful to get to a place where I feel confident and comfortable with my own opinions, my idea of myself."
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