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On Chicago P.D., Sophia Bush’s character is trying to improve the world. The actress is too.

JUST CAUSE
Actress Sophia Bush makes a difference on and off screen.

We’ll say it: Sophia Bush is probably working harder than you.

The 32-year-old actress stars as Detective Erin Lindsay on NBC’s hit show Chicago P.D., and in her spare time, Bush is an ardent activist for myriad issues, including gay marriage, environmental causes and women’s health.

Bush talked to Men’s Book recently and told us about the causes that are near and dear to her heart and how her inner foodie is taking to Chicago’s restaurant scene.

Tell us about your activism—how did you get started in so many efforts?
That’s been my position in life since I was a kid, from trying to start beach cleanup groups in my sixth-grade classroom to now. I work on the boards of various charities and help build schools in the developing world, and I work with women on empowerment and esteem and eradicating sexual violence. It all has just been the evolution and work of my life.

Do you ever worry that your work might be seen as a detriment, maybe as baggage?
No, I don’t. If a studio or a fan base has a problem with someone who wants to make the world a better place and have conversations that matter, then I’m not the person they want to hire.

How closely connected do you feel to your character, Erin Lindsay?
Erin is a badass. She’s very committed to the things she believes in. Because she comes from such a rough background, she understands how ugly the city can be and how ugly people can be, but she also inherently believes in her ability to change things. I think it’s the reason I love this job so much, to be playing a woman whose values are aligned with social justice—it feels really authentic to me.

Had you been to Chicago before you started filming Chicago P.D.?
Just once, for a weekend. So I knew it was lovely. But when you do a show like this, suddenly you’re a resident. I’m here about nine months out of the year now.

Do you have a favorite bar or restaurant where you like to hang out?
I do, but I don’t feel I should tell you—I’m going to blow up my spot! [laughs] Tête Charcuterie is a mainstay in my weekly rotation. They have this vegetable salad—it’s like a baked container of incredible vegetables. It’s one of the most amazing, interesting dishes that I’ve ever eaten that also happens to be very good for you—which is exciting when I’m taking down a platter of the chef’s selection of meats. It’s nice to balance that.

And?
I’m also a huge fan of Nia, a great little Mediterranean spot, and I love GT Fish & Oyster. Avec is fantastic.

Sounds like you’ve been enjoying your time here.
I love it. If I can’t be filming in the two cities where I grew up, L.A. and New York, I’m thrilled to be in a city that still feels sizable by comparison and has so much great culture, art, food, music and activities going on. It’s a really wonderful place.