May 4 (UPI) -- Ariel Winter says her Modern Family co-stars helped her become a confident young woman.
"The show helped me a lot," Winter told Entertainment Tonight at a Television Academy panel for the series. "I was surrounded by so many great people that were really supportive of me and really, you know, wanted me to thrive. And told me all the time that they believed in me and thought I should be confident."
"We were criticized a lot," she recalled of the show's early success. "And I was criticized especially being the youngest girl out of the cast. And it was definitely hard."
Winter, who was 11 when Modern Family premiered in 2009, wore a revealing mini-dress with cutouts and beaded embellishment to the event. Bowen and Vergara had nothing but praise for the star, who has vocally promoted self-acceptance and body positivity.
"She knows exactly who she is," Bowen said. "She knows exactly, and I've watched so much negativity bounce right off of her, and I'm like, 'Let me learn from you.'"
"She's great," Vergara added. "She's a great actress, she's super professional. We love her on set."
Winter previously called Vergara "a great role model" in an interview with Self magazine. She said the 44-year-old actress helped her embrace her curves and shared advice on how to be comfortable in her own skin.
"I had a great role model in Sofia growing up, with her being a curvy woman that was super proud of who she was and what she looked like," Winter said.