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Winter relies on imagination

'Modern Family' actress got her start in commercials

When Ariel Winter was 4, her parents found her hitting her head against the TV. “I was watching ‘Dora the Explorer,’ and I kept saying, ‘Come on, let me in! I want to explore with Dora!’?” recalls Ariel Winter, now 11 and a series regular on the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.”

Winter’s parents started her out in commercials and print to see whether it was the right fit, and before long, she was tackling film and television roles, including several animated blockbusters. “When I booked my first movie, ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,’ I realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” she says.

Rather than taking acting classes, Winter approaches each role as a test of her imagination. “I like thinking, ‘What would I feel if I were in that character’s shoes?’?” she says.

With the thriller “Duress,” the twist hinges on her character (spoiler alert), so Winter had to fool auds into thinking she was innocent until it’s time to reveal her terrible secret. “I had to pull from my emotional bank, and I plucked out evil,” says Winter, who will soon be seen taunting Eddie Murphy in “A Thousand Words” as well.

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