By Jennifer Merritt
Updated Mar 08, 2016 @ 4:30 pm
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

What better way to spend International Women's Day than by chatting with none other than actress and activist Sophia Bush?

We met at New York's The London Hotel to discuss her latest do-good venture: the #MyTrueBeauty campaign, a joint partnership between the 33-year-old Chicago P.D. star and the beauty accessory brand EcoTools. The goal? Simply to start a social conversation around women's empowerment. "I spent my whole way from downtown to midtown crying in the car reading these incredible posts women are putting up about their moms, their friends, and their sisters and family members who are no longer with them—it’s just amazing to me what you can do if you decide to take that extra step and go a little bit farther to try and do a good thing," she said.

Starting today, for every message about women's empowerment shared on social media tagging @ecotools and using the #MyTrueBeauty hashtag, the beauty accessory brand will donate $1 to The Girl Project, up to $100,000, in support of girls' education around the world. "Education has always been important to me," Bush said. "I was talking about what we are doing with my mom and she sent me this photo of me from second grade, when I had done a project, and I’m standing in front of this massive art piece that I did. It looked like a library—there was an ottoman and a cat reading—and the title of my project was ‘Reading Is the Cat’s Meow.’ I was like, first of all, who knew in second grade I was so obsessed with puns? [Laughed.] Second of all, this is great—my whole life I loved school and the opportunity it provided me and what it taught me about storytelling. I know that my career and the things that I’ve seen and the experiences I’ve had, all of that is directly related to the education that I’ve had, and I want that for other girls."

So what, then, does Bush consider to be her true beauty? "I feel my most beautiful when I'm talking about something I'm passionate about," she said while looking beautiful in a white off-the-shoulder dress by South Portrait. "When I'm talking about girls, and their capability and what they deserve, and our opportunities to help every girl on earth have access to quality education, I feel my face light up, I know my eyes get bright. It's exciting to me to be talking about the women who have left really beautiful footprints in my world and in the worlds of all the women who are participating in this campaign."

Consider the conversation started.