When it comes to empowering women, Sophia Bush is not someone you want to cross.
The "Chicago P.D." actress, who plays tough-as-nails detective Erin Lindsay, doesn't just portray a badass feminist on TV -- it's who she is.
"I celebrate the fact that I play a very strong capable female on television who works in a room full of men and nails it. And by the way, that's what I do all day. I work in a room full of men, and I work really hard, and I do a really good job, and I'm allowed to love that," she told AOL in an exclusive interview.
Bush, 33, who is also known for her past roles on "One Tree Hill," "John Tucker Must Die" and NBC's "Chicago" franchise, has no qualms about taking industry insiders to task on their degrading language. She recalled one moment she had a producer totally taken aback and "stuttering."
"If a producer is looking through photos of actors and actresses on an iPad for casting, and I hear them make a comment about a woman's body or what she looks like, I'm like, 'Hey, you didn't say that about any of the three guys who you just flipped through, and if you want to do it, don't make the mistake of doing it front of me again.' "
Sophia Bush through the years:
That kind of behavior, which Bush say is "habitual" in so many industries, is exactly why the actress is teaming up with EcoTools, a sustainable beauty brand notable for its environmental excellence, to help empower women through the #MyTrueBeauty campaign benefitting The Girl Project, which aims to support girls' education globally.
Bush, who has been a fan of the brand's products "for forever," was stunned to learn that EcoTools would donate $1 for each post on social media that tagged #MyTrueBeauty and @ecotools up to $100,000 on International Women's Day, no less.
"I was like, 'Say what?' Corporate people don't do that," she joked. "It's such a cool reminder that good people find good people."
Coming from Hollywood, which is largely perceived to be a superficial industry, Bush was particularly drawn to the campaign's idea that beauty starts from the inside.
"I feel my most beautiful when I feel like I'm being impactful or talking about something that I'm passionate about," she said. "We're not just going to raise $100,000 for The Girl Project -- we're going to create a whole digital database under our hashtag about messages about women's empowerment and women who are inspired by one another and how their volunteering to support each other, and I just can't wait to see it grow."
Joining the conversation of women's empowerment is important to Bush, who admires her colleagues and friends, Viola Davis and Gina Rodriguez, both of whom have found incredible success as women of color in the industry. The actress even admits "crying and screaming at the TV" when watching Davis' impactful acceptance speeches.
"It's so important to watch women in any position have that conversation because it reminds you of the progress that we're making but also how far we have to go. The number of women who are actually directing projects in Hollywood right now is a joke, and the number of women getting nominated for awards for the incredible projects they're making -- even less," she lamented. "Yes, champion what's going right, but also highlight where we need to keep pushing because progress still needs to be made."