TODAY   |  April 30, 2014

Sophia Bush: ‘I’m not rail-thin, 6-foot-tall model’

The “Chicago P.D.” actress joins TODAY to talk about her TV role as a no-nonsense detective and her off-screen work to empower women about body image.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> with the girls from this morning's "love your selfie" segment, spending time in our vine booth with sophia bush . she's an activist for young women , also one of the stars " chicago pd ." she plays no-nonsense detective erin lindsay, and tonight her squad teams up with the folks from " chicago fire " from a two-night crossover event.

>> great to see you.

>> makes perfect sense, because in the real world the fire department and the police department would interact like this. do you like the crossover?

>> i love it. and actually, as you're referencing, in the real world , our district office is only a block and a half from the fire house that they portray on " chicago fire ."

>> so it does make sense.

>> yeah.

>> this episode deals with a traumatic event in the city of chicago . i understand dick wolf himself came in and talked about the idea behind it in the production meeting.

>> he did. you know, he's obviously so passionate about the whole arena of people who devote themselves to public service . and he came to speak with us about the show and said it's going to be intense. imagine oklahoma city , imagine the boston marathon bombing. we have the ability to thank the people who are the ones who run toward it and not away. and he really is so passionate about honoring first responders.

>> it is a dramatic episode, or a two-part episode. also, i understand that we're starting to learn a little bit more about your character and where she came from, what makes hereti tick.

>> indeed.

>> you like that?

>> we're getting into lindsay's past. you see some interesting things this week, and the next two episodes reveal a lot.

>> it's fun for me to get to meet you a little bit more. you were watching with great interest the segment we just did on "love your selfie" with those young ladies who are trying to send the message to other girls that you really have to have a positive self-image. this is something that is very much a passionate subject for you.

>> absolutely. i'm incredibly blessed that one of my best girlfriends from college started an amazing non-profit called "i am that girl." and our whole mission is to remind women that they're allowed to be in love and express who they are, and that you were born exactly as you are for a reason and what makes you different makes you unique. and that is such a beautiful thing. we talk about being beauty-full from the inside-out. and i really think that as the girls were referencing, it comes from collaborating with other women rather than competing. and supporting other women, because as you support other women, they support you and you elevate your whole community.

>> but you work in an industry where there's often a contradiction. because on the one hand you're saying this and it's exactly what you should be saying and we all believe it. on the other hand, you're often put out there because of your appearance. and by the way, i should mention, you posed on "maxim" magazine in a very revealing spread, and so how do you -- what do you say to girls like that we just had on the air about, you know, not being known only for your external beauty?

>> i've really bucked away from that for such a majority of my career. and i've spent so much time talking to women about hey, i may be on tv and i may be photographed for magazines, but i don't think i'm perfect. i don't wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and go hey, i'm amazing! that's not how it is. i'm a woman and it's a struggle for all of us. and it took me until this point in my life at 31 to say hey, yeah, i'm going to embrace my body, i'm going to own it for me and not for anyone else and i'm curvy and i'm not some rail thin six foot tall runway model who was just born that way. i was born like this. and this is a-okay. and the conversations that have sort of come out of that, the conversations that we've had about feeling empowered in our skin rather than comparing ourselves to other women has been a really great by-product, actually, of that whole shoot.

>> it's an important message. i know those young ladies appreciate it. it's nice to see you.

>> nice to see you, too.

>> good luck on the show.

>> thank you.

>> and we want to remind people you can catch "chicago p.d." right here on nbc.