Sophia Bush is an inspiring and refreshing part of young Hollywood today. At a time when so much of it is filled with people who are famous for doing absolutely nothing; this young star is doing more than just something major to make a real difference. Just look at the issues the One Tree Hill star is advocating for and the multiple positive messages she is sending to her fans, and it is quickly recognized that the Pasadena native deserves to be in the very much admired part of young Hollywood. Wisdom is the meaning of her name and it is definitely fitting with this ‘Sophia’; for when speaking with the actress and activist that’s exactly what you hear. Her intellect and sound compassion have shown us that Bush’s talents far exceed that of what she does on-screen; but also in the way she goes about trying to improve the lives of others.
With over 100,000 followers on Twitter, there’s no question people care what Sophia Bush has to say and she has been putting that interest to good use by engaging her fans in creative ways to help her achieve positive change in the world. With posts ranging from educating people on how to live a more eco-conscious life, to further spreading the word on the importance of equality and tolerance, to raising awareness about the major BP oil spill in the Gulf; Bush has been using her Twitter as a major outlet for her charitable passions.
Her passion for good has never been hidden and that certainly came across during our interview. As did her passion for the role she has been playing for the past eight years; none other than that of Brooke Davis. Bush talked about how much she is enjoying the developments her character is going through, the most valuable things she’s learned from her experience with One Tree Hill, what she believes in fighting most for; and much more that prove Sophia Bush will continue to make a significant impact in far beyond just Hollywood for many, many years to come
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We just saw during the premiere of One Tree Hill, Brooke is having legal problems with Clothes over Bros, how is that going to affect her this season?
Sophia-Well Clothes over Bros is a huge part of who Brooke is. It’s her identity. It’s something that she created. The company is like her baby and I think having it being investigated, having something be wrong with it, having anything bad in relation to it is devastating. But I think it’s a good moment for it considering the fact that there are serious issues with our economy. I think that it helps us relate more as a show and as characters to not be invincible to that. And I’m actually very happy that the writers took that leap of faith and were willing to take that risk because I think it’s going to create a really wonderful journey for Brooke amidst the struggles and challenges she will face.
We’ve seen Brooke go through a lot throughout the seven years, is there a story line you had with her that truly stands out to you?
Sophia-You know, there are so many bits and pieces of things in scenes and episodes that I’ve really loved. I don’t know if I could pick one story line specifically. I will say that I have not had as much fun ever on the show as I have had in the last year and a half. Season seven and season eight have been incredible. I think the material has elevated. And I think it’s obvious people feel that way by the numbers and by the response to the show.
Is there something you would like to do with her that you haven’t had the chance to do yet? If you could write out her story line for the rest of the season, what would you hope for?
Sophia-For me, I would like everyone to start interacting a little bit more again. You know, it’s hard when you have a group of adults who have very different lives and schedules, and you have to serve story lines that are very romantic in their investments, because that creates a lot of one-on-one scenes. But I really enjoy when the cast is together as a whole. I enjoy the Brooke/Jamie storyline. I love when we get to do episodes with all the girls together. That is really fun for me and I hope we get to do more of it this year. And I also am really happy that Brooke is in a place where she’s getting her happy ending, where she knows finally what she’s worth and she’s not going to question that anymore. It’s been a process of self-discovery for her, and I know that so many women have related to her journey. I’m very pleased with that.
She definitely seems much less insecure now, than last season when she was going through all the drama with Alex and Julian.
Sophia-I loved that struggle. We showed everyone is flawed, and you could argue both sides of that argument. That he didn’t handle it properly, or that he didn’t do anything wrong. But I think that the major challenge, which we conquered for Brooke, is to realize that your issues of security come largely from within yourself. And you can’t base how you feel in any relationship solely on the way the other person behaves. You have to base it on your behavior as well. I think that’s a lesson that comes with maturity. And I think that is something that Brooke has had to figure out. She has had to put her past aside and learn to have faith. And I’m really glad that she did. Part of the reason that Brooke Davis loves Julian Baker is because he has a big heart. But part of the reason that she was upset about Julian continuing to be Alex’s friend even when Alex was inappropriate is because Julian’s heart was too big to just abandon his friend. And sometimes, in reality, I think the thing you love the most about someone can be the thing that frustrates you about them as well. But I really like that they didn’t have him back down, that they had him take a stand and say “Listen there’s no relationship in my life as important to me as my relationship with you but if you don’t know that, how am I supposed to convince you of it?” And it was a lesson that she had to learn on her own. For Brooke to become self-assured enough to know that no one, no matter what, can take her man away is quite a triumph.
Having been on the show since season one, what would you say have been the most valuable things you’ve learned about yourself as an actress and a professional through it all? How would you say you have grown from your experience with One Tree Hill?
Sophia-I think we’ve all grown incredibly. It would be impossible not to in nearly a decade! But for me the most valuable lesson that I’ve had I think has been the most unexpected, becoming a director. It’s been an incredible experience and a wonderful outlet for my imagination and my management skills as well as my other creative desires. To be able to put an entire show into motion and create it from the bottom up is exhilarating. There was a time when I didn’t think that I wanted my first directing experience to be on the show. I wanted it to be something completely unique, but when season 7 and season 8 were solidified, I just couldn’t wait anymore. It wound up being so rewarding that I wish I had done it sooner.
And you just directed another episode this season. How is the process and experience for you when you have to be in the episode as well as direct it? A couple of your co-stars who have directed told me that was the thing they liked the least.
Sophia-Yes I directed episode 806. I think our processes are all different. I experienced it last year. I did episode nine of Season Seven and I had more scenes in that episode than any other actor, so I really got thrown into the mix! They dropped me right in the deep end but I was thrilled. I enjoy the challenge. And I don’t want to have a job where I’m not scared a little bit every day. To have something be scary, seven years in, is very refreshing. So I loved the experience. And this year, logistically, I had an incredibly complicated episode. And they entrusted me with it and said they knew it was something that I could do. And that was really such a wonderful compliment and such a vote of confidence from the people that I work with and I loved every single minute of it.
Do you have a dream role you would love to play after One Tree Hill?
Sophia-There are so many characters that I want to play. I think more than having one specific thing in mind, I’m just looking forward to being able to play other people and explore other avenues.
You just became the new spokesperson for the new DoSomething campaign.
Sophia-Yes I’m thrilled to be joining DoSomething. I think they do wonderful work. And I was really excited when I heard that they were turning their attention into ecological issues. I’m very excited to be a part of it. I think if we can spread information and help people see that it’s not just choosing to live a green life, it’s choosing to live well. A life that is ecologically friendly. I think we can do great things.
You have been using your Twitter account as a major way to help the Gulf, to fund-raise. You and Austin Nichols have raised a ton of money and have engaged your fans in creative ways through the giveaways. Can you talk about that and how the idea sparked to start the Crowdrise page and contests?
Sophia-The point for me is not just to raise money, but to raise awareness. It’s to change the way that people live, and the way that they look at the earth, and the way they look at what they consume, what they use, what products they buy. We have to be responsible. And recently I’ve learned that our fans really want to know what I’m up to, so I’d rather share this with them than anything else. Prior to going down to the Gulf, I had no interest in being a part of any of that sort of social media because I didn’t want to share my private life. But this is a passion I’ve had since I was a child and it was really heightened by the oil spill. I’m incredibly glad that I’ve reached out the way that I have because the support that’s come back has been overwhelming.
And you guys are running a half-marathon to raise funds for the Gulf.
Sophia-Yes it’s a half-marathon in November. It’s a whole bunch of our friends and co-workers and a few thousand other people who will be running the race that day for various causes and we’re just really excited to get out there and be a part of it!
You have been pretty vocal about the debate concerning the Mosque to be built near Ground Zero, what inspired you to take on a controversial issue like that? A lot of celebrities tend to stay away from being public with issues concerning religion.
Sophia-I think people have shied away from it, and I understand, because religion tends to be more volatile than politics. But for me it’s not about whether the issue is right or wrong. It’s about the explosiveness of the situation. And I feel like there is so much misinformation. I’m not going to lie, when I first heard there were plans to build a mosque at ground zero, I thought, “Really?!” And then I started thinking about my reaction. Why did I have a reaction? What was the basis for my surprise? I wasn’t incensed, but I wasn’t blase about it either. I realized I needed to know more about it, so I started reading. I found out it’s not a mosque, it’s a community center. Then I read that it’s actually two blocks away. And two city blocks in New York are enormous. And the more I read, the less it seemed what people are making it into. I watched it unfold, and my heart just broke. Watching the way people have behaved has just been sad. I’m not a politician, I’m not a community leader, it’s not up to me to decide whether or not the center should be built, but I’m a human being who cannot believe that other human beings are treating each other in ways that are being shown on the news.
We live in a country based on freedom. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. Men and women have died to protect those freedoms. And citizens of this country have taken to the streets of New York to fight against the rights of other citizens? I think it’s shameful. It’s disrespectful to the people who have given their lives so that we may live freely. A lot of people are upset about the ‘mosque’ because of 9/11. I understand, it’s a terrible painful memory for all of us, myself included. I lost people that day. But we are talking about Americans attacking other Americans, our American Muslims.These are not people who had anything to do with September 11th. These people are not members of Al Qaeda. Saying that every single Muslim in the world is a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden is about as logical as saying that every person of German descent is obviously a Nazi. That’s obviously crazy. It’s ignorant and racist. And what’s worse, we are giving propaganda to Fundamentalists Islamic Groups. “Look how intolerant America is!” We are pouring gasoline on a fire. A Muslim taxi driver getting stabbed in his cab? A guy in New York breaking into the center and urinating on prayer rugs?! It’s disgusting behavior. No matter what anyone’s opinions about whether the center belongs there, we do not have the right to mistreat citizens of this country. This has become a “free-for-all” for every person who has ever wanted to express hatred or bigotry to focus that energy, that hate, on a scapegoat.
If we want to have a debate about this, we need to have it civilly. And we need to treat people with respect. And there is absolutely no respect left in that neighborhood in New York and that is what I’ve spoken out against.
It’s really admirable you’re speaking out on that. You’re right it has become an uncivilized debate and I’m sure your tweets are going to enlighten many on the issue who maybe have not read about it as much from the news.
Sophia- There are fundamentalist psychopaths in every religion in the world. Every single one. This is a multifaceted issue, with many areas that induce volatility, but it has exploded into something insane. It just seems completely insane.
People just deserve to be treated with kindness. Even if you don’t agree with it. What’s been interesting is I’ve gotten flack from both sides. People are saying “Well, you haven’t actually said you support it”, and other people are saying, “I can’t believe you support this”. I’m not going to share my opinion of whether or not I think the Mosque should go there. That’s not for me to decide. However, the way that citizens of this country are reacting to the situation and treating people who are also citizens of our country makes me sick. I think if we could approach this and many other controversial issues, openly, ready to listen and to have a civilized discussion, we would be much better off. We should meet in the middle with the motive of tolerance, the desire to learn, and a hope to be better. Clashing like this has no good result. If we all live with an ‘eye for an eye’ mentality, it doesn’t take long before the entire world is blind.
Congratulations you were just awarded the Reality Cares award. Very nice honor! What did that mean to you?
Sophia-Thank you. It was very special for me. Until I was interviewed by their radio program a few weeks ago, I didn’t know about the organization. The fact that they had been paying so much attention to what I’ve been trying to do for the Gulf and motivating young people to be ecologically conscious, was so flattering, and humbling at the same time. You don’t really know how far your voice is reaching and so it was lovely to hear that there are so many groups of people who are working very hard to make life better, who care about what I’m doing. It was very cool.
Where would you say your strong desire to really make a difference and fight for causes comes from? With everything you’re speaking for and doing, it’s very obvious you’re very passionate about helping others.
Sophia-I’ve always been this way. I’ve always wanted to fight for people who didn’t have arms. I’ve always wanted to speak up for people who don’t have a voice. I’ve always wanted to protect people who couldn’t protect themselves. It’s my nature. It’s my instinct. And I don’t think that makes me exceptional or special, I think that’s just who I am. And I think the people who I do that for would absolutely do it for me. I think the greatest thing that we can do is take care of each other. I think it’s definitely come around to bite me in the ass a few times. You learn, often the hard way, that you can’t give to the point until you are all used up. But I will never ever stop fighting for people and fighting for their chances. That would be like giving up on life to me.
I think people can definitely see you have a good head on your shoulders. You’ve managed to keep yourself out of all the negative media, out of the tabloids. You’re not making the headlines for bad behavior, you’re making the headlines for all the good you’re doing to fight for things you’re passionate about.
Sophia-I appreciate it. I’ve managed to keep my head on straight about a lot of things, but I’ve also fallen on my face. You just have to get back up, and learn from your mistakes. I mean, Hello! We all make mistakes. We all have growing pains. Nobody’s perfect. But there are, to me, things that are just…sacred. And doing what’s right is sacred. It’s not always easy, when I think about what is right. What it means to treat people equally and to treat people kindly and to lend a hand. The road can be more difficult, but that’s also why it’s rewarding. I try to remind myself to elevate my standards constantly. Continual evolution and evaluation are a must. Imagine if we could all strive to be better every day? I certainly don’t always succeed, but I believe in the possibility, for all of us.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you’ve received, be it growing up, or in the industry, something that you hold close to you that you can share with your fans?
Sophia- One thing? I’ve had a lot of great advice in my life! I’ve also had to learn a lot of things on my own. At the end of the day I think you just have to know that the greatest thing that you can be is the sum of your passions and if you lose those things, what do you have? So be who you are and fight for what you know.
You know it’s funny, I read a quote once that said you can’t listen with your mouth open. And I thought you know it’s really true. Everybody has to shut up and listen sometimes and hear what other people are going through. And I think if rather than fighting, and yelling, and behaving the way that people do sometimes; I think if you could sit down with someone who you really don’t agree with and have a civil conversation, each present your side to the argument and come to terms with what you’ve been wrong about, or vice versa, or you agree to disagree, you can really grow. This need to be the one who’s right…it’s useless.
No one wins like that. It only leads to more conflict.
Sophia-Well, at the end of the day, everybody thinks they’re right. Whether it’s an opinion about politics, an opinion about gay marriage, an opinion about religion, an opinion about where to go to dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s earthshaking or if it’s trivial, people tend to think they are right. But if we can just treat other kindly, and with respect, it will make a difference.
If you could go back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be?
Sophia-There’s a really incredible photographer [Alfred] Eisenstaedt who shot some of the most iconic photographs in history. The V-J Day photo of the sailor and the nurse kissing in New York City after the war ended, and so many others. Just incredible, incredible images that capture the world developing and changing. And I think if I could be anyone, I would want to be him for a day. To see the world the way he saw it, and to see through his camera lens the way that he did, would be pretty profound.
Any final words to your fans?
Sophia- I’m so grateful to all of them for coming on this journey with me. To each and every one of you who has joined CrowdRise, who has started recycling or composting, who is beginning to get active and help save the world: THANK you!