Rachel Bilson: My 'Hart of Dixie' character is a great role model for girls

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PHOENIX -- Known for her role as Summer in "The O.C.," actress Rachel Bilson has taken on a new persona for CW's newest hit show, "Hart of Dixie."

A classic fish-out-of-water story, Bilson plays a newly-minted New York doctor who inherits part of a family practice in the little Gulf Coast town of Bluebell, Ala. Her character, Zoe Hart, couldn't be more out of place although she's trying to fit in and adapt to life in a small close-knit town.

The role is very different from Bilson's alter ego on "The O.C."

"The fact that I play a doctor is very different from Summer Roberts," Bilson laughed.

Bilson loves that she plays her age and adores her character.

"She really sticks up for herself, stays true to herself, which I think is such a good example for girls out there," the actress said. "I really respect that because I can't always do that, myself. I love that about [Zoe]. She's smart and she's witty and she's funny."

Bilson, who has a killer wardrobe on "Hart of Dixie," also writes a fashion column for InStyle magazine. In 2008, she launched a clothing line, Edie Rose, for DKNY Jeans. Earlier this year, she designed a line of house wares, Edie Rose Home, for Macy's.

On the acting front, Bilson recently wrapped work on the independent file "Life Happens," with Kate Bosworth, and the independent comedy "The To Do List."

"Hart of Dixie" airs Monday at 8 p.m. Arizona time on CW6.