There’s only been one episode of Season 7 so far, but already there are enough villains of AHS: Cult to make you question almost every character’s motives, including Winter’s. Not only is she difficult to pin down as inherently bad or just sadistic in her own way, but she also has ties to Kai, who may be the mastermind behind all of the killing. Since she’s definitely mysterious, though, is Winter from AHS: Cult based on a real person? Like Kai, she’s most likely meant to represent something much bigger this season than an actual person.
In Kai’s case, Ryan Murphy has said that he represents the panic and disorder that came when Trump was elected president. For Winter, she could very well be meant to represent the fear in Americans at the time. Of what viewers have seen so far, the main focus on Winter has been about fears. When she entered into that weird pinky promise ritual with Kai, they talked about what scares her the most and she agreed to face her apparent fear of children by becoming the psycho nanny of the show. While she's potentially doing Kai’s bidding, Winter’s motives have continued to be about delving into people's minds and finding the terrors that lurk within.
She knows full well what Ally’s fears are regarding her coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, and still she gave Oz the Twisty the Clown doll, no doubt in the hopes that the doll would eventually pop up at some point to terrify Ally, who is for some reason already a target for Kai. Winter also introduced 10-year-old Oz to the darknet and real videos of people dying, which would no doubt cause him to have the night terrors Ally mentioned him having. Also, babysitting 101: don’t let the kid watch murder videos online (or ever).
But other than being an intricate representation of fears, Winter also seems like she’s meant to be a character that has been played many times over — the scary nanny. If you have a mom anything like mine, you are familiar with the very dated '90s movie The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, about a psycho nanny who essentially wants to take over the family. In The Omen, Mrs. Baylock was Damien’s nanny who was also a disciple of Hell, sent to protect him but also certifiable herself, so it’s safe to say that Winter joins a long line of TV and movie nannies with ulterior motives.
In the past, Murphy has had characters on AHS who were based on real people, like Mena Suvari in Season 1 as the ghost of Elizabeth Short, otherwise known as The Black Dahlia — or Kit and Alma Walker from AHS: Asylum who producers said were based on Barney and Betty Hill, a couple who claimed to have encountered aliens during an abduction back in 1961. That being said, it wouldn’t be totally out of the ordinary for Murphy to have based either Kai or Winter Anderson on real life people, but in this case, they seem to be totally original characters in the AHS universe.
So far, all that’s known about Winter is that she appears to be Kai’s sister, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and yet somehow still eager to do what he tells her. She also obviously has no idea about proper nannying, because she makes all of the babysitters who spend the evening talking on the phone and raiding their boss’ refrigerators look angelic.
Obviously there’s a lot more to her this season than just that, but it’s all part of the original character created for AHS: Cult rather than a TV version of a historic figure. Viewers might need to see a little more of Winter on AHS: Cult to understand her better, but she does seem to be playing the part of sadistic nanny well while playing into the Mayfair-Richards family’s fears already.
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