Ariel Winter is embracing her independence.
The "Modern Family" star turned 18 in January, but has been considered a legal adult since May of 2015 when she became an emancipated minor.
In an interview with "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, Ariel got candid about the experience of growing up on television and making important decisions while navigating life in the spotlight.
"I think it was a little shocking for me in the beginning," she said of finding fame at age 11 when the ABC comedy hit premiered in 2009.
Despite the show's massive success, Ariel revealed that she didn't necessarily make the choice to pursue acting.
The brunette told "GMA" she was "kind of pushed into the industry" by her mother, Chrisoula Workman, whom she said she hasn't spoken to in three and a half years.
"I think when I was born it was kind of already decided what I was expected to be," Ariel said of her upbringing.
When asked if her mother fit the description of a "stage mom," Ariel agreed.
"She most definitely was," she said, but clarified that her current work focus is all her own.
"That's not to say I don't love it and it's not my passion now," Ariel said of her entertainment career, adding, "I [just] don't know that if I had had my own run to be able to decide what I wanted to do, if I would have."
While Ariel said the emancipation proceedings that took place between her and her mother are "private family business," she did touch upon the difficulty of experiencing such personal turmoil in the public eye.
"It's really hard to have that kind of drama in your life and to be going through that tough situation and have an open court case and have everyone look at it," she said.
"At the end of the day, I feel like, for me, I probably should take the high road," she added.
More recently, Ariel stood up for herself following criticism surrounding her appearance.
Last June, she underwent a breast reduction to alleviate what she called the "excruciating pain" of her voluptuous figure.
"I couldn't sit up straight," Ariel said. "It was always super uncomfortable for me to sleep, it was uncomfortable to sit, it was uncomfortable to walk."
The distress wasn't just physical, she explained.
"Walking down the red carpet and seeing the photos afterward and having every headline be about my cleavage and not about my talent, and not about what I was really there for or anything that I wanted to be put out there [for], and I thought that was really disappointing," she said.
Ultimately, Ariel said, the procedure was the right thing to do.
"I just didn't feel right, and I did it for myself," she said of the surgery, adding, "It was the best change I ever made in my life."
In January, Ariel hit the Screen Actors Guild Awards in a strapless gown that exposed her scars from the procedure, something she told the morning show she hadn't even given a second thought.
"It really astounded me," she said of the response, recalling comments she saw that suggested she "put your scars away" because they're "gross."
"I think that's just so ridiculous, considering they're a part of me," Ariel said. "They're not going away. … Scars are cool! They make us who we are. We have stories from them."
So what's ahead for the young star?
While "Modern Family" has yet to be renewed for an eighth season, Ariel is already setting her sights on a future beyond television.
According to "GMA," she's currently in the process of applying for college with aspirations of becoming a social justice lawyer.
-- Erin Biglow