The new season of the Netflix series, which drops today, August 23, will focus on the mystery of who killed football player and abuser Bryce Walker.
The last two seasons have set it up so that anyone may be responsible for Bryce’s death, introducing new characters and diving deeper into the stories of some of our favorites.
One character we will be watching throughout the season—and one of the characters we’ve grown to love—is Jessica, played by Alisha Boe.
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It’s revealed in season one that Jessica, along with Hannah (Katherine Langford), was sexually assaulted by Bryce and throughout season two, Jessica faces ominous threats as she prepares to testify against Bryce in court.
Boe brings tons of emotion to her character and has been one of our favorite actors to watch in the series. If you’re not yet familiar with the Norwegian-Somali actress, here are six things you should know about Alisha Boe.
She Is Somali-Norwegian And Proud
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine
She Initially Auditioned For The Role Of Hannah Baker
In an interview with W magazine last year, Boe revealed that she’d originally auditioned for the role of Hannah on 13 Reasons Why. She was later asked to audition for the role of Jessica, which she says she “disconnected with it.” “She’s supposed to be a pretty, popular teenager, and in my head, just from being brainwashed from all these breakdowns growing up, it’s a blonde girl with blue eyes,” she told the magazine. Thankfully, Brian Yorkey, who adapted the story for TV, and the casting execs wanted an inclusive cast and persuaded Boe to take the role. “It was my first time being able to be separated from being someone’s best friend, or being the butt of the joke, or an accessory. It was a dream come true for me.”
Like All Of Us, She Once Had A Very Embarrassing Username
In an MTV UK interview, Boe dished that she once went by the username FierceEuroChick97.
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for H&M
She Once Had A Crush On Danny Phantom
We’ve all had a crush on a fictional character—you’re lying if you say you haven’t—and Boe’s crush was on Nickelodeon’s Danny Phantom. In the Danny Phantom series, a lab accident turns Danny Fenton into a ghost-hunting superhero named Danny Phantom. Of course, tons of action and hijinks ensue.
She Has A Matching Semicolon Tattoo With Selena Gomez
Boe told a fan during an interview on TRL that the semicolon is a nod to Project Semicolon, a nonprofit organization that focuses on mental health wellness and efforts to prevent suicide. “It’s to stand in solidarity with people who have suicidal thoughts, have gone through depression, and addiction issues.”
Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Ferragamo
Boe Started Acting At A Young Age But Took A Break During Her Teens
Boe, who was born and raised in Oslo, Norway, later moved to Los Angeles when her mother remarried. She got her start performing in Oslo and continued to do so in LA, before taking a break as a teenager. In the same W interview, the actress told the publication that she would often be sent to audition for Hispanic or Asian roles because ” it just wasn’t inclusive then for mixed or ethnically ambiguous or black people, in general.” She added that identity “played a really big role in my life.” As a Norwegian-Somali actress living in LA, Boe says she went to a predominantly white high school, where she struggled with her Blackness. “People would look at me and say, ‘Alisha, you’re pretty for a black girl.’ Then I thought being black was wrong and I wanted to take away my blackness. And then going on these auditions, I have the upper hand, because I am the token black girl. They aren’t going to hire the lead girl on The CW to be a dark-skinned black girl; they’re going to want someone who looks like me. That’s why I was able to do all the Justice, Sears, and Target print work, because I was light-skinned with Caucasian hair. I understand that, but identity is still something that I am working out.”