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Sophia Bush on starting a new chapter and distrusting other women

She’s down to earth, she’s a master brunch-maker and she considers her inner circle of girlfriends sacred. If you’ve ever suspected Sophia Bush would make the perfect bestie, you were right.

The actress spends her time in seemingly equal parts campaigning to save the world as an eco-warrior and whipping up culinary delights like French toast for the biggest loves in her life: her friends and family.

And, oh you know, tackling TV and film roles that empower women to be exactly what we are — beautiful and brilliant, but also deeply flawed. Complex. Human.

In fact, part of what drew Bush to her current role as tough-as-nails detective, Erin Lindsay, on the gritty hit series Chicago P.D. was the fact that the showrunners and writers allow the heroes (like Lindsay) to be flawed.

More: INTERVIEW: Sophia Bush raises a ton of green to help people go green

It’s Bush’s desire to tap into this woefully underrepresented aspect of the female personification in Hollywood characters that informs many of her roles.

“There are plenty of things I’ve read over the years and things I’ve been offered that I said no to, because at the end of the day, I want to play characters who I want to hang out with,” she said. “I want to play characters who I think are interesting women who have something to say — I’m not looking to just play somebody’s girlfriend, by any means.”

Bush makes it her mission in life to surround herself with strong, resilient women like the ones she plays on screen. They are, she insists, “the most important thing in the world.”

She and her inner circle spend so much time together, in fact, that they’re essentially considered a package deal. “One of our friends is getting married this summer, and her soon-to-be husband said, ‘Oh, I knew when I proposed to Alexis that I was getting all seven of you — I knew I was really marrying all of you,'” Bush recounted, laughing.

More: Sophia Bush loves Amy Schumer so much, she went topless for her (PHOTOS)

But for Bush, it’s a particular point of pride that in today’s world — where women bashing other women has basically become a pastime — she has a group of friends who are so supportive.

“Women need other women,” she said. “There is no finite bucket of success, and there is no finite bucket of good partners out there that we’re supposed to compete over — there are plenty of men and there are plenty of jobs and there are plenty of accolades to win and babies to have.”

Bottom line? There’s enough of whatever it is we want to go around, ladies. No need to resort to cattiness or turning every interaction with another woman into a competition.

The outspoken star underscored that notion, saying, “The more that women are happy for other women, the more the world will support women. And it’s on us to be champions of one another.”

Thankfully, the tides are starting to turn, says Bush — and she credits female empowerment organizations like I Am That Girl (for which she serves as a board member) and The Kind Campaign. “Girls are realizing that other girls are not the enemy,” she shared, “and I think we’ve got to keep reinforcing that until it’s just a given.”

Naturally, when you do make yourself vulnerable to other people, as Bush entreats all women to do with each other, there’s the possibility that trust may be misplaced.

Actually, it’s a trait — trusting everybody, even when she shouldn’t — Bush considers to be both her biggest flaw and one of her greatest strengths.

“I think it’s something you learn, especially as a woman, to trust your intuition more the older you get,” she said. “So I’m definitely very glad to be in this new chapter, but I also wouldn’t want to take it back, because I’d rather believe in people than not.”

More: Sophia Bush on body image: I’m no runway model

Pausing pensively for a moment before continuing, Bush then added with confidence, “Occasionally that’ll bite you in the ass, but that’s OK. Your life lessons make you who you are.”

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