vogue– Sophia Bush is fully booked. In the past month, Bush has premiered her latest movie, the pregnancy horror-thriller False Positive at the Tribeca Film Festival, debuted a podcast with her One Tree Hill costars Hilarie Burton and Bethany Joy Lenz, and unveiled a new lineup of sustainable goodies on Fashionkind, the ethical luxury e-commerce site she cofounded. Luckily, the actress-entrepreneur has plenty of energy.
Regardless of the medium she’s working in, Bush is unafraid of tackling important issues. Case in point: False Positive explores gender-based violence and the politics of pregnancy. Ilana Glazer’s marketing exec, Lucy, finds the fertility clinic of her dreams, but as the story progresses, layers of paternalism in the medical field, microaggressions, and sexism at work unfold as she becomes aware of a sinister aspect of her situation. “It felt pressing in terms of what we faced from the [Trump] administration in 2019 and the bills around the country we face now,” says Bush, who stars alongside Glazer as Corgan. “I loved the idea of making a psychological horror [film] based on examining these systems of toxicity, [tackling] bias in the medical industry, internalized misogyny, the patriarchal structure that we’ve all grown up in, but doing so in a way that highlights the horror of a woman losing her autonomy.”
As Corgan, who initially seems like Lucy’s ally, Bush plays a character whose internalized misogyny makes her a threat. “It was interesting to sit with Ilana and talk about how this new friend, who seems like a bright spot for Lucy, would turn out to be someone who, under their smile, was an unwitting agent of the patriarchy,” Bush explains. “She holds up those oppressive standards of dismissing a woman’s concerns, telling her to speak to her husband, asking her what her doctor says every time she says she is having a problem.” Filming the scenes where Corgan’s views come to light wasn’t an easy process. “It felt gross,” says Bush. “Often when the director would yell cut, [Ilana and I] would jump up and shake out our limbs because it felt disgusting to talk to each other that way. Still, Corgan adds this shiny veneer to Lucy’s fear, and that was important for the story.”
When she isn’t playing the villain, Bush is busy introducing her millions of followers to her heroes. On her popular podcast, Work in Progress, Bush interviews the artists, politicians, athletes, tech entrepreneurs, and performers who inspire her, including Gloria Steinem, The New Republic senior editor Jamil Smith, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her chat with Smith in September 2020 was especially moving for Bush and her audience. “Having experienced the collective outrage after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, being able to sit and have an intimate conversation was meaningful,” Bush says. “Just learning about his experiences and listening to him talk about how titles, degrees, education, and the spaces he’s welcomed into don’t protect him from racism or violence.”
Bush’s journey from acting on a popular teen drama to becoming a politically engaged content creator and producer (her series Good Sam debuts on CBS this fall) was a long one. But recently, she’s begun to revisit the beginning of her career. She put One Tree Hill and its dedicated fandom behind her when the show wrapped in 2012, but last year she had a change of heart. “I called Hilarie when we were in the middle of lockdown, and I just said, ‘Hey, everyone’s tweeting and posting about their nostalgia shows right now, and our show has been that for so many years.’ The fans have never slowed down on it, and there are always new people discovering it.” Given the continued interest, Bush thought it was time she and her costars gave the series a second look—or, rather, a first. “We realized none of us had ever watched it,” says Bush. “We get together around the world, and we’re so amazed by the fan response, but we’ve never actually gone back and seen why it was so impactful.”
Together with Burton and Lenz, Bush has turned their group watch into a new podcast, Drama Queens, which debuted on Monday. Working on the project has brought the trio closer together. “Now there are nights where we’ll get on a three-way FaceTime, and we’re all at home cooking dinner, having a glass of wine, and talking. It feels amazing to be together again, even if we’re in these separate places,” says Bush. “When we watched the second episode together, we were all crying at the end of it. After that, we were all like, ‘Wait, this is good!’ It’s a show about people experiencing their life together, and there’s something so beautiful about that simplicity.”
Below, the star takes Vogue behind the scenes of False Positive’s Tribeca premiere and her getting-ready process.
A preview of tonight’s red carpet look by the inimitable Huishan Zhang. He hails from Qingdao, China, studied at Central Saint Martins in London, and was handpicked by Delphine Arnault to work at the Dior haute couture atelier