How Brooke Davis Became the Best Character in ‘One Tree Hill’

One Tree Hill might’ve started off with Nathan (James Lafferty) and Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) at the core of the narrative as two brothers trying to find common ground in the basketball court, but things only got better when Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) came into the mix and owned the spotlight from then on. The character was introduced as another stereotypical cheerleader seeking validation from the boy next door, but as she gained more time on screen, she went through an in-depth transformation and became the empowered female figure that early 2000s TV needed. 20 years after the show premiered, her remarkable presence within its 9-season run is still cherished by fans who watched the show back in the day and recently through the Hulu platform.


Although there are many reasons why Brooke stands out in One Tree Hill, her will to surpass boy-craziness in order to focus on her aspirations and self-worth is what makes her trajectory so notorious.

RELATED: ‘One Tree Hill’ Seasons Ranked from Worst to Best

As previously mentioned, the character came into the series in the most predictable shape. Stripping off in Lucas’ backseat and being a bully to the other girls in the cheer squad, Brooke was eager to do anything to be likable. For that reason, it took a while for her to begin to blossom and set her priorities straight. To be exact, it took her to break up with Lucas multiple times to notice that being alongside someone that doesn’t appreciate you for who you are isn’t worth it. In the Season 3 finale, her emotional scene with Lucas questioning him about not letting her all the way in really demonstrated that the previously deemed superficial character was just as relatable and fragile as any other high school girl. This notion of Brooke shedding away the stereotypes was even more noticeable during the picture assignment featured in Season 4, with her standing in front of a projector with words like “not good enough” and “not pretty enough” plastered across her face.

Despite her eagerness to find the prince charming that would sweep her off her feet, Brooke finally understands that she shouldn’t be defined by boys. Instead, she could put her clothing line above the whole guy drama and make it a fashion staple. Still in school, the character started her own brand and cleverly named it “Clothes Over Bros”. With designs that made her and her friends feel like their best selves, the clothing line skyrocketed and led Brooke to stardom. Yet, as the good old saying, nothing feels better than being at home. Opening her store back in Tree Hill in Season 5 was the perfect way to demonstrate that a successful entrepreneur like her could still be accomplished alongside those near and dear to her heart. This shows that Brooke is as loyal to those around her as she is driven to make her visions a triumph.

Even though in the beginning of the show Brooke had an on and off friendship with Peyton (Hilarie Burton), she became more reliable as a friend in the later seasons. From being there for Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) when she was trying to reconcile her marriage with Nathan to saving her godson Jamie (Jackson Brundage) in a car accident, the character was selfless when it came to protecting her loved ones. This “mom” instinct that she had really showed when she cared for baby Angie and Sam (Ashley Rickards) when they lived under her supervision. If being a boss lady wasn’t enough of a reason to fall for Brooke, her willingness to be attentive to her friends and foster children was an additional trait that contributed to her popularity amongst the fanbase.

Still, like any other beloved character on screen, audiences rooted for Brooke to reach her happy ending. After many unsuccessful shots at love, she finally found the ideal match that saw through her ugly parts and loved her for her personality. Julian (Austin Nichols) was the outsider who fell for Brooke even before he truly got to know her. Since the beginning he valued her determination and fragility, making sure to verbalize his feelings for her. It was refreshing to see that after such a complicated relationship with Lucas, Brooke could open her heart to someone that would in every sense let her all the way in. Having them get married and start a family together was the full circle moment that the character deserved all along.

Evolving from a secondary role often diminished by her shallowness and flirtatious behavior to a woman that recognizes her self-worth and keeps those she loves as a priority; Brooke had an astounding character development throughout the series. “People are going to label you. It’s how you overcome those labels, that’s what matters.” This memorable quote from her truly represents Brooke’s coming-of-age journey. Having her go through the hardships in high school when she sought validation in boys and popularity to her moving past that and finding comfort in her own success in all areas of life was instigating for viewers. Although Nathan, Lucas, Haley, and Peyton had their own compelling story arcs, Brooke was the character that changed the most and for the better.

Reminiscing on the touchstones of her growth, Brooke set a positive example for girls back then and she continues to be a relevant figure for new audiences. Despite the political and social settings from the early 2000s clashing from our current reality, she was an advocate for women to have a better future and always demonstrated that you don’t have to be defined by who you were in the past. Instead, you can learn from your mistakes, revaluate your priorities in life, and look for love that doesn’t make you feel less important than you really are. Bush’s portrayal of Brooke made the character development relatable for audiences back then and nowadays because she wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable and was always eager to become a better person.

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