Sophia Bush Talks Real Beauty, Body Pressure in Hollywood, + Heartbreak

By Diana Zarowin

You may know her from her One Tree Hill days (shout-out to Brooke Davis!) or from her current role as a badass detective in Chicago P.D., but Sophia Bush is so much more than that.

Recently, we had the pleasure of talking real beauty, body pressure in Hollywood, and heartbreak cures 101 with the talented actress, director, spokesperson, and activist. We loved her realness, self-confidence, and down-to-earth personality as well as her openness about the industry she’s in, hearing her beauty tips and tricks, and learning about some pretty key life lessons she seems to have mastered.

She is a true inspiration to women everywhere! Read on for the full scoop!

Sophia Bush: On Real Beauty

How do you define beauty?

Confidence – to me, beauty exudes from confidence, from a woman who takes care of herself emotionally and physically and loves her own intellect and strength and also gives herself permission to be exactly who she wants to be.

What makes you feel beautiful?

When I feel in balance, I feel beautiful. I feel beautiful when taking care of myself, and getting enough sleep (which is almost never!); when I feel like I’m able to work on the causes that are important to me and be in my groove at work and [go to the] gym regularly. And, good meals with friends. All of [these things] makes me feel beautiful. It’s cumulative. If I don’t have time to workout, I’ll walk instead of taking an Uber – that’s cumulative. When I’m taking good care of myself and actually washing my face before bed. Doing little things that make me feel good make me feel beautiful.

It’s going to sound so silly but, I also have a partnership with Philips Sonicare and have been using one [for] forever. I [bring one] to work and have another at home. When I’m in crazy grimy set locations, such as Chicago, I go run back to the trailer and use the Philips Sonicare and polish my teeth for two minutes – [things like this] make me feel amazing. I feel clean and know that I’m actually impacting my health, improving my gum health and whitening my teeth. [I feel like I’m taking] care of myself for my own long-term health.

What’s your morning beauty routine like? 

If I’m going to work, I don’t do much. [I’ll put on some] makeup, brush my teeth (Sophia swears by her Philips Sonicare DiamondClean power toothbrush, which whitens teeth in just one week and improves gum health in two), and drink a glass of water to jumpstart my day. [And, of course] moisturizer with sunscreen!

How about your nightly beauty routine?

Night’s pretty easy usually because I’ve been beaten up and battered at work [on set]. [I’ll take a] hot shower, [use] coconut oil as a hair mask, and deep clean my face with the Clarisonic. [I’ll also apply] hydrating oil for my skin and I’m done.

Do you have any DIY beauty tricks?

I’m pretty decent at painting my nails but I don’t do it that often because I don’t wear polish at work. I do put loose braids in my hair occasionally, [and wear it like that] to sleep in and then it’s wavy in the morning which is nice. There are certain things I need to trust a professional for, though. I never trust myself to give myself a facial or teeth whitening treatment. I have one set of teeth – I never want to risk [doing anything wrong] to them, (which is why she visits her dentist for a Philips Zoom whitening treatment).

You’ve been in Hollywood for years now – how have you dealt/ do you deal with the pressure of body perfection?

The pressure surrounds all women [in Hollywood and outside of it] everyday. If we obsess about it, we’re going to hate on ourselves all the time. It’s exhausting and a waste of time. I’ve never thought my body was perfect. I’ll never say, “Oh, I’ve achieved it.” It’s so unimportant, in the grand scheme. What’s important is to realize it’s not the most interesting thing about me. It is not the reason I’ll get a job, and if I don’t get a job because I’m not perfectly toned enough for that job, then it’s not a job I’d be a good fit for anyway.

I choose not to pay that much attention and [when you do this], suddenly the pressure seems less present. It’s an active choice. It’s not a choice that you make one time and it [miraculously] lasts forever. I make [that choice] again and again. I was never the person who went on a crazy crash diet, or stopped eating. I just never thought that was worth it – it breaks my heart to watch women do that and suffer. I don’t want to add to that problem with girls ever.

There are more interesting things than diet tips, or what we wear. Let’s talk about our brains, passions, ways to change world, companies to start, and movements we want to lead. Who made it cool to marginalize people based on what dress size they wear? I want to smack that person in the face!

What do you always have in your handbag?

My cell phone, Mofi charger, lip balm – [ in fact, I have] 2 or 3 in each purse I own! Perfume, SPF, La Mer.

The one lesson you always remind yourself is

To stay present. That’s the most important thing, and I am constantly reminding myself to do this.

And, finally, what’s your best tip for dealing with a heartbreak?

Your girlfriends, Sex and the City reruns, and a bottle of wine. Anytime you go through something in which you suffer, it’s painful. But, it’s really important to remind yourself that you’ve been through it before and you will go through it again. No heartbreak is a make-or-break event in you life. If you focus on friends and other things going right [for you], you’ll be just fine.

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