Hilarie Burton doesn't want to be anything other than herself.
However, the One Tree Hill alum opened up about her time filming the early aughts drama, sharing that she was made to feel her costar (and IRL BFF) Sophia Bush was considered the most attractive in the cast.
"I think part of the toxicity of the early 2000s," Hilarie said during an appearance on the Dec. 6 episode of Kelly Ripa's Let's Talk Off Camera SiriusXM podcast, "where I worked on a show where there were a number of girls and it was very clear that I wasn't the pretty one. That was just the marching order."
She continued, "Sophia Bush was the pretty one, and she is, but it relieved me of the weight of having to try to live up to that, and so I always got to be the snarky one. I got to be the funny one. I got to be all these other labels that don't require as much maintenance."
In fact, the 41-year-old said that this sensation went beyond her time on OTH, and instead followed her around her early career.
"Living in LA, I felt like there was this crazy standard that I could never live up to," she admitted. "I remember a casting director telling me after an audition, ‘You know what's great about you is that you're just average, like your teeth are crooked and you've got one eye bigger than the other, and it makes girls at home feel better,' and I was like, ‘Cool. Okay. I love being relatable.'"
It was feedback that ultimately changed the way she viewed herself.
"When that stuff is in your ear as a young person," Hilarie added, "it changes how you prioritize self, and so I knew that I didn't have to be pretty because if I was smart or I just worked harder than anybody else, then I'd be fine, and so work ethic wins out in the long game."
Despite any labels, if one thing is true, it's that Hilarie and Sophia have an epic friendship. From adorable twinning moments to the podcast they co-host with fellow OTH alum Bethany Joy Lentz, these two BFFs have proved they're in it for the long haul.
In fact, Sophia recently showed her love and support for her friend in a whole new way: The Chicago PD alum joined Hilarie on a tour stop for her new book Grimoire Girl. It was a move for which the White Collar actress shared her appreciation.
"Lots of people will tell you they love you," she captioned a Oct. 19 Instagram post, featuring selfies of her and Sophia. "But when someone walks the walk and shows up and ACTIVELY loves you? Keep them. Cherish them. Protect them."
She added, "I am so lucky to have 20 years with this woman who is written on the pages of my personal Grimoire. But the next 20??? We're just getting started. Sophia. You are so deeply good. I love you."
And for more of the entire One Tree Hill cast, check out these pics from their reunion in November to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary.