By Samantha Simon
Updated Nov 28, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
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In the days following Thanksgiving, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of shopping holiday sales. But Sophia Bush is here to remind you what else this day is about. The former One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. star teamed up with PayPal for its #GivingTuesday initiative, which powers online charitable donations worldwide. And according to Bush, now is the time for people to come together and truly support one another.

The world is a scary place at the moment, and I think there are people who profit on division,” she told InStyle earlier today. “And so what better way to support each other and come together as a community than to not allow ourselves to be divided? To give back to our neighbors, to our communities at large, to the world, and to show up and really make a difference? It's possible, and I think it's incredibly meaningful to see how so many small acts of kindness can really add up.”

For Bush, working on PayPal’s Giving Tuesday offers the perfect platform to campaign for kindness. “This initiative that we're working on was able to raise an additional $48 million for charity last year,” said Bush. “So anybody out there who says, ‘Does my $10 or $25 or $50 really make a difference?’ Look what it adds up to! That's really the power of the people. I'm just excited that in this holiday season—when everyone's busy and traveling and maybe a little stressed and dealing with Black Friday and Cyber Monday—we can also say, ‘Let's talk about Giving Tuesday. Let's talk about how to give back.’ Does anybody really need another sweater? [Instead], maybe donate to a cause that's really meaningful to someone who you love and let them know it's meaningful to you, too.” Scroll down for our full chat with Bush, and for more information about how to help, visit paypal.com/giveback.

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Why is it so important for you to give back?
I'm really fortunate that I was raised in a family where, as a kid, my parents were really supportive of all my wild ideas of how I wanted to save the world. They always told me that one person can make a difference. So as I've come into my adult life and been working, I have this platform that I'm really grateful to have. I'm able to highlight meaningful causes and have conversations about how to move the needle. And I really do believe that if every concerned person and passionate person dedicated just a little bit of their energy to something that they believe in, that we could make the world a better place.

You’re very vocal about the charities you support on social media. How do you use your platform to help women and girls empower themselves?
I think we're all a work in progress, right? And for me, I'm incredibly grateful to have the platform that I have because I know that I can serve as a highlighter or a megaphone for causes that matter. I know that I have been able to alert a lot of people to initiatives and charitable organizations that maybe they hadn't heard of before and then seeing those men and women write to me and say, "I’m doing a fundraiser for this group and I'm now involved and I'm volunteering." That's the gift. That's really just the thing I think I'm the most grateful for and proud of in my life. And to have a day like today, to be able to get the attention of national media to talk about giving back? That's meaningful for me. That's the greatest side effect of my job.

How do you empower yourself on a daily basis?
I think that that's changing. Confidence, happiness, empowerment—those are moving targets. They’re not destinations we arrive at and suddenly it's like everything is perfect. Nobody has that, and I think that the false notion that anybody does is what creates panic and jealousy and all of those things. Especially when we're looking at social media, where everything looks perfect. I think it's important to be honest, to be vulnerable. It's important to be real and just say, ‘This is what works and this is what doesn’t.’ I'm incredibly empowered by seeing other people take charge, get passionate, and educate themselves—and those are the things that make me feel good, too. I think education is empowerment.

What’s your next career goal?
I'm really excited about what's coming next. I did the math recently, because I'm a little bit dorky about it, and I was thinking about Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour theory, and I realized I've been shooting TV shows for nearly 50,000 hours of my life now. I went, 'Yeah, I think I'm ready. I'm ready to sort of take on more responsibility.’ I've been directing, which I love—and it's wonderful to be a female in the DGA [Directors Guild of America]—but I realized I was really ready to produce. I was ready to have a larger role behind the scenes in the shows that I'm making. So that's the next step. I'm working over at Twentieth Century—they're an incredible production studio—and we're looking at all sorts of shows and avenues to tell stories that are really meaningful. I'm excited for the next show that I bring to air and character that I bring to life, and to know that I'll be producing on the back end of that, as well.

You recently snapped some photos on the set of Will & Grace. Can we cross our fingers for a cameo?
No, no, no. Debra [Messing]’s just one of my dearest friends. She's another incredible activist and dedicated woman in the social change space. And whenever she's in L.A. or I'm in New York, we get to hang out. It was the holidays and I had a bunch of friends visiting, so I took a big group of people to a taping and they just loved it. It's so much fun and I had the pleasure or working with the creators of Will & Grace on a show for a year, and it was really interesting because I realized I'd obviously never been in the audience while we were shooting my show. So to get to sit back and watch them working with these actors that are just obviously the cream of the crop in comedy, it was really fun. Everybody visiting had a really good time with it too. So it was just a fun lady date.

Your Instagram followers seemed to be getting their hopes up for a guest appearance, according to the comments on your post.
I'll tell Max [Mutchnick] and David [Kohan]. I'll be like, "Guys, we might have caused a thing!" So maybe there will be time before they finish out the season. Who knows?