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The Transformation Of Ariel Winter From Modern Family To Now

As part of an award-winning ensemble cast, Ariel Winter portrayed Alex Dunphy on all 11 seasons of ABC's "Modern Family." The bespectacled, nerdy character was a stretch for Winter, but she was up for the challenge. Cast as a child, she already had an impressive résumé with guest spots on Fox's "Bones" and CBS' "Criminal Minds." She'd even flown to Germany to film the 2008 movie "Speed Racer." Winter quickly became a fan favorite on the popular sitcom, as well as a teen icon (even if her storylines weren't always the best).

At age 11, Winter was thrown into the limelight not only for her portrayal of Alex on the show, but also for her own personal style. Over the years, she went from sweet to sultry, and always appreciated the support she got from her castmates. "I was surrounded by so many great people that were really supportive of me and really, you know, wanted me to thrive," she told ET Online. "[They] told me all the time that they believed in me and thought I should be confident."

By the time "Modern Family" wrapped in 2020, Winter was all grown up. It was hard to say goodbye to the very real family she'd formed with the cast, but she was ready for new roles and a new look, too. Here's how she's changed since.

The Starks are always right in the end: Ariel Winter is coming

When "Modern Family" ended, Winter wasted no time moving forward. First, she changed her look from Alex Dunphy's dark brown to a bright red shade she'd been dying to return to ever since sampling it between seasons in 2019. At the time, she'd reveled in the change, even though she couldn't keep it. She was utterly unrecognizable and, according to Allure, over the moon about the disguise. 

"Dyeing it this color was something I was really excited to do," she told Allure the first time around. "But the day after I dyed it, I felt like a different person. I walked past my bathroom mirror and was like, 'Oh my god! Who's in my bathroom?' And it was literally me. But I love it. It's my favorite style I've done so far."

Winter certainly looked nothing like Alex Dunphy once she left "Modern Family." A few months later, she transformed her appearance once again, popping up on Instagram as a beautiful platinum blonde. She debuted the look in dramatic fashion, playfully captioning her new photo gallery, "Winter Is Coming!!!!!!!!!!!"

Fans loved it, and so did she. But what about Winter's acting career? Was she set to take a break after growing up on a hit sitcom?

Ariel Winter won't be Alex forever

Winter may look different these days, but there's no denying she's still the same stunning and skilled actress, with devoted fans eager to see her in new roles. And she's already off to a great start. Her experience on "Modern Family" was positive and life-altering. Now that it's over, she's looking to move on, and is open to discovering — as opposed to forcing — her next step.

"I'm excited to play new roles and to do things that challenge me a little more. Alex is a great character but Alex doesn't change a ton," she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. "I don't want to play kid to adult. I want to just play my age now."

Winter's first project after "Modern Family" was the comedy-thriller "Don't Log Off," an independent film about a girl who goes missing from a virtual birthday party. Winter plays the lead and, according to Deadline, had a role in producing the film. An IMDb check shows she's also cast in the crime movie "Crimelands." No release dates yet for her latest projects, but this news is good: Winter is already back to work and will surely appear on screen again soon.

Winter is targeting more grown-up roles

Even before "Modern Family" ended, Winter was breaking out as an actress and demonstrating her range. In the 2015 film "Safelight," a road-trip tale involving two teens on a quest to photograph lighthouses, Winter plays a more dramatic role. Director Tony Aloupis told We Blab Entertainment Magazine she had no trouble at all managing it. "Ariel is so prepared and professional. We briefly discussed her character and she ran with it," he said. "She needed very little direction from me."

Two years later, in 2017, Winter worked with legendary actor Burt Reynolds on the film "The Last Movie Star." This time, she plays the racy Lil McFougal, wearing fake tattoos, sipping wine in a bubble bath, and appearing onscreen in a lacy black thong. According to AP Wire, Winter told "Entertainment Tonight" she looked forward to more movie roles.

"Doing something different is definitely intentional for me because I want to broaden my horizons," she said. "I would like to do different things, because I've been doing ["Modern Family"] for 10 years next year."

In yet another role that allowed her to break away from the series, Winter appeared on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2019. She played Raegan, a wild party girl who was assaulted and seeking justice. Winter was excited to have a part on one of her favorite shows, and she took the opportunity seriously. Working closely with TV legend Mariska Hargitay, she felt she was able to do right by the character and grow as an actress.

"It's weird to say, like, doing an episode of something was life-changing, but for me it was mildly life-changing working with her," she told Entertainment Weekly. "I left there and I felt completely different because I had a new outlook on so many different things, that were not all related to acting."