The Female CEO Who Turned Sophia Bush Down

Sophia Bush, actress and activist, keynoted our Style Summit at the Simon Mall Houston Galleria this past weekend, and we're still on a high from the knowledge she intentionally slammed, forget dropped-- this wasn't casual, on stage. 

If you missed out, we're sharing 6 of our favorite moments to keep you motivated through your work week. 

On being a tender-hearted softie who takes no shit.

I’ve had to learn, sometimes, how to scream and swear at the phone and then not send it. You know, write the draft of the response to the person who deserves it, but then channel Michelle Obama, ‘when they go low, I go high,’ and I delete it. But still I am really learning the art of a good clapback and I deserve that. Simply because I exist in public does not make me a receptacle for people’s garbage.

It’s taken me 15 years, but I think I’m sort of an expert.

"I am really learning the art of a good clapback and I deserve that."

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On activism being a huge part of her story and advice to women

You have to find the thing that lights you up and that can be in a good way, or a bad way. What sets you on fire?  What makes you so angry? I read a lot about what’s happening in the world today and I’m pissed, I’m so pissed all of the time, and that FIRE that it calls up in the gut of my gut, I’m like, this is why I can’t be quiet. It’s really easy to turn off the news. And look, today is Saturday. My best friend and I laid in bed all morning and ate french fries and drank iced coffee and watched Fixer Upper-- I needed a day. But we have to pay attention and I think the first and foremost step to becoming a more engaged more active member of society, is to pay attention.

On the internet life. 

I would encourage everyone here to make the easiest free investment ever. For the next week, please every day, leave a really lovely compliment on at least one of the accounts of women you follow. Please once a day. Because most of the people who take the time to leave comments are assholes. The really nice together people, are scrolling and liking, but we’re busy. So we can really tilt the conversation by leading it with positivity.

On personal style. 

When we look at the ways we express ourselves and the ways each of us still might be feeling like maybe today’s version of expression was a risk? Support each other. Whether that’s girls who tend to dress in menswear or girls who love to show off their bodies or girls who are fully covered and wearing a hijab. Love on women. Love on them and tell them they are beautiful. Tell them that their style is sick, even if it’s different from your own. I can’t wait to be eighty and be like Iris Apfel meets Georgia O'Keeffe. I’m gonna be such a silver-haired old lady wearing crazy shit out in the desert collecting bones and painting them.

Her advice to her 20-year-old self.

I was so nervous about letting people down. I didn’t know that when I was 21 and started working in television that I didn’t have to answer every question journalists asked me to be polite. What is polite anyway? Figure out what’s important to you and you don’t have to open up your life in ways you don’t want to. You don’t have to please other people before you please yourself. You don’t have to stay in a job that makes you unhappy. You don’t have to stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy. If you’re pretty sure that guy you’re dating is lying to you, he is. Let it go. I learned that one the hard way.

"You don’t have to please other people before you please yourself."

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I really wish I could look at her and say ‘you already know, stop worrying about what other people know or think or want from you more than you worry about how you feel in the root of the root of yourself.’

On putting yourself out there.

Women are often so reductive about ourselves. Men don’t say I think. Women say I think. You might write an email and say I just think it would be so wonderful to know you. No you know it would be wonderful to get to know that person. That CEO who you idolize or whoever that person is, say: "It would be such an honor for me to spend a morning with you. I have a couple of questions that I know your expertise would be so valuable." Stop saying I think I could benefit, I think I would like to-- no you know what you’d like. You know what you can do. Just go for it. I’ve done that. Last year, I sent an email to an incredible female CEO who I admire so much basically asking the same question. She was so lovely in response and said I’m incredibly strapped for time as it is and what free time I have goes to my kids but thank you so much for writing this email to me, the compliment that you paid me really means the world, and I do hope that in some point when we’re in the same city we both have some free time and we’ll get together. I was like I’m so sad but you’re so classy. It made me feel so good to know that I made her feel good.

Photo credit: Smith House Photo