Influential Gen Y Role Model Sophia Bush Speaks Out


Sophia Bush at the Art of Elysium Charity event in Los Angeles, Ca

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You all know her as the driven, bubbly, beautiful fashionista/mogul Brooke Davis on the CW’s One Tree Hill. She’s gorgeous, popular, the ultimate dreamsicle of a high school boy’s fantasy and grazes red carpet events in old Hollywood style.  But did you know that behind all of the wonderful regalia of Hollywood stardom that Sophia Bush is a wonderful beacon for Gen Y, a self-proclaimed “greeny” and spreader of the do-gooder virus? She’s an activist, supports various green causes and charities and is a passionate player in the BP tragedy in the gulf. This Gen Y’er has recently taken on huge brands like Urban Outfitter’s to call out their so-called “snarky and witty ” t-shirt campaigns. She is not afraid and is ready to roll with the audacity to challenge those promoting the (pardon my French) “bullshit” that young men and women in our generation glorify today.

I had the chance to speak to Sophia this past Monday about what motivated her to pursue the causes she continually fights, her the stigma of being a young actress in Hollywood and her dreams and goals. For those of you who don’t know her or already follow her on Twitter, this young lady is making great waves in representing our generation the right way. And may I say that her tenacity has kept her at the top of my role model wheel. I know she will continue to spread the do-gooder virus out there. A prime example of how Gen Y Hollywood is making waves.

Who is Sophia Bush?

“I am a Hopeless Optimist. I see the good in people always and sometimes that gets me into trouble but I really see no other way in living life. I believe in people over and over again, even if they have let me down, and I continue to believe that they will change for the better.”

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Sophia developed a passion for performing while in high school. When she is not in front of the camera, Sophia is a passionate philanthropist whose causes focus on the celebration of arts as well as the environment.

Describe yourself in a one-word adjective.

“Enthusiastic!”

Indeed she is! Her raspy voice is her trademark in the industry, and hearing her speak so passionately and enthusiastically about her causes kept me smiling and engaged through our whole conversation.

What causes are you fighting for?

Sophia and beau Austin Nichols at the Art of Elysium event in Los Angeles, Ca.

“I have always been a supporter of  The Art of Elysium, a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1997, that encourages working actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.” Art of Elysium provides artistic workshops in the following disciplines: acting, art, comedy, fashion, music, radio, songwriting and creative writing.

*Since childhood Sophia has been enthralled with Africa and the wilderness, and has translated her interest in pushing forth advocacy towards the causes in Kenya. She is an advocate of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a foundation she was introduced to by Edward Norton, which is committed to the preservation of biodiversity within the Maasai tribal lands of East Africa. Funds support conservation, education and health services within the Maasai community as well as a host of programs designed to conserve Africa’s legendary wildlife.

“Ever since I was little I remember just being so intrigued about Africa. There was just something so magical about the place. I was completely bawling after the time I spent with them at this dinner. It was then that I really felt at home around these inspiring and passionate people who wanted so much to move mountains with the causes they were supporting. I had planned on teaching English there last summer, and I was so looking forward to it. Unfortunately I had to put the trip on hold because I had emergency surgery on my throat. But I do have plans to go back, early next year, with Edward and a group of other supporters.”

The cause that encouraged me to reach out to Sophia was her passionate tweets about the current state of the BP oil spill crisis. She has partnered with Global Green Founder Matt Petersen to raise funds and awareness for the victims of the oil spill in the gulf. Here’s the amazing part. I saw her create her inaugural account on Twitter and in a little less than five days raise over $10,000 through tweeting links, photos and inspirational motivation while crowd-sourcing her friends and followers on Social Media Fundraising site Crowdrise who has an API integrated with Twitter to post live feeds on what causes fans, followers and friends are responding to.

“I attended a Massai Wilderness Conservation Trust benefit event in New York years ago where I met the inspiring duo of Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson. When Ed decided to run the NYC marathon to raise money for the MWCT, he came up with Crowdrise. After my trip to the gulf, I decided to check out the site and fell in love!  Austin and I made the trip out to the gulf with Global Green, to really see what was going on and I was appalled at how little we all knew about the severity of the situation out there. When we got back, we knew we had a perfect cause for Crowdrise.”

Sophia and Social Media

Sophia has been pretty outspoken about her role in social media, or lack thereof, but has since changed her outlook on the usage of such tools. You can now see her tweeting live about her causes on Twitter @SophiaBush and motivating all the young people about joining together to fight for making a difference.

Discussing the crisis in the gulf with Global Green Founder Matt Petersen.

” I have never been an fan of social media. That’s why for the longest time I never had a Twitter account or a Facebook or anything like that. It’s hard enough trying to protect my personal life from the public, and I’ve never been a person that’s wanted to open up any facet of my personal life to any kind of social media. Austin and I started the accounts because we were so angry about the spill. We started tweeting pictures about what was really going on in the gulf and were shocked that our followers on Twitter and the general public didn’t know half of what was going on!”

Since their membership  on Twitter and Crowdrise, both Sophia and Austin have raised well over $20,000 to help the gulf.

Sophia has since harnessed the power of social media by grasping upon the power of her influence to fans, friends and followers. She mentioned how accounts like Twitter and Crowdrise can be utilized for far more than just tweeting about what kind of omelette you have for breakfast in the morning. It would be in our best interest to start movements with our influence just as she has. #LittleVoices is the hash tag she uses to trend all of her tweets regarding the movement she is making within the Twitterverse. Sophia believes that a thousand little voices can turn into a noticeable roar if we all speak up for ourselves together. Her recommended formula goes farther than just social media. She advises that in order to see change it takes more than just signing a petition to agree on a cause.

“We need to write our congressmen and call their offices. Imagine what 4 million petition signatures could do in the form of letters and phone calls? Imagine getting a letter everyday about a cause that needs some attention?”

On the Hollywood Bubble and Role Models.

Speaking about Social Media brought me to ask about the Hollywood bubble on Twitter and needless to say, Sophia’s passion and spark came out in such great fashion.

“The bubble is bullshit, how can we set a good example to young men and women out there about who we are and what we are all about if we are Tweeting about the latest party or the last thing we had for breakfast? Who cares? It sickens me that some people can make a living out of showing up at parties and getting drunk and telling the whole world about how insane their night was out on the town. Give me a break! WHERE IS THE MOTIVATION? WHERE IS THE INSPIRATION!?”

Advice for Gen Y.

Follow @SophiaBush and @AUS10NICHOLS to see the latest on their causes.

We came to the very end of our conversation understanding that there is a need to inform people that in order to see change we must put forth the effort to help facilitate change. She had wonderful words for Gen Y when I asked her about advice for her generation.

“Never let the fact that you are young get in the way of what people think you can do. That fire BURNING inside of you is not silly, it’s passion. You are far more powerful than you think. If you are working on a cause to fight cancer or eating disorders, find local organizations who you can join with to help you with your cause. See how you can help each other. Maybe one person has had a hard time changing the world, so imagine a million! There’s nothing wrong with reaching out and seeing who you can partner with to bring light to your cause.”

Thank you Sophia for being a beacon out there for us to look up to. There aren’t many like you in young Hollywood who are willing to take a leap of faith into voicing what they care about. We can’t wait to speak to more folks like you who are using their influence for good causes. See below for more information on her trip to Grand Isle, LA. You can also donate to Crowdrise at: www.crowdrise.com/sophiabush

For more information on Sophia Bush you can check out her website here: www.SophiaBush.com

*This post was edited by Sophia Bush on 08/01/2010.

Sophia’s Letter to Urban Outfitter’s regarding their “Eat Less” t-shirt. Read her blog here.

eatlessLadies! This is OUTRAGEOUS. I hope none of you will stand for being told such a thing, in such a way. Being healthy, eating right, and staying active is one thing. Being told to starve yourselves by a fashion company? Not cool.

UO,

I have been a supporter of your store for many years, but now I’m through.

I am fortunate enough to star on a wonderful TV show called One Tree Hill. I play a fashion designer named Brooke Davis, who started a campaign on the show called “Zero Is Not A Size” and the outpouring of love and gratitude that came my way from girls and women ALL OVER THE WORLD who have body image issues brought me to tears.

To promote starvation? To promote anorexia, which leads to heart disease, bone density loss, and a slew of other health problems, not least of all psychological issues that NEVER go away? Shame on you. I will no longer be shopping at your stores. And I will encourage the tens of thousands of female supporters I have to do the same. I have fought to boycott BP. I never imagined I would also be boycotting affordable fashion.

You should issue a public apology, and make a hefty donation to a women’s organization that supports those stricken with eating disorders. I am sickened that anyone, on any board, in your gigantic company would have voted ‘yes’ on such a thing, let alone enough of you to manufacture an item with such a hurtful message. It’s like handing a suicidal person a loaded gun. You should know better.

I sincerely hope that next time you decide that making fun of serious issues is comedic, or ’snarky in a cool way,’ that you rethink your decision.

With Sincerity but NO respect,

Sophia Bush

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