Actress Alisha Boe is Making Her Mark

Actress Alisha Boe is Making Her Mark

The '13 Reasons Why' phenom carries a powerful storyline in the show's second season.

The '13 Reasons Why' phenom carries a powerful storyline in the show's second season.

Photography: Justin Campbell

Styling: Yana Kamps

Text: Ashley Simpson

This interview appears in the pages of V114, The Fearless Gigi Issue, on newsstands now! Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

Alisha Boe never anticipated the impact of 13 Reasons Why, the breakout Netflix series about the suicide of high school student and assault survivor Hannah Baker. The Selena Gomez-produced show, told through Hannah’s self-recorded tapes detailing the events that led up to her death, forced widespread conversations around issues of sexual abuse, bullying, and depression. “During the first season, I didn’t really think of the outcome,” says the 21-year-old actress, who plays Jessica, Hannah’s friend and a survivor of assault herself. “You never think that acting can change people’s lives. The reception was incredible and sort of overwhelming.”

In the time since the first season came out, Boe’s life has changed dramatically. Born in Norway to a Somali father and Norwegian mother, Boe relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting at age seven. “I was just out there hustling. I was looking for a role from anyone who would hire me,” says Boe, who soon booked recurring roles on Ray Donovan and Teen Wolf–but none that approached the phenomenon of 13 Reasons. “My mom was really happy when I booked the show,” Boe laughs. “Like, ‘Yeah, you’re not a failure!’”

Today, Boe is excited about the second season of 13 Reasons—which, given the current climate, was always poised to make an impact. “We dove more into Jessica’s road to recovery after coming to terms with her rape, so I did more research into the psychologicale effects of trauma and how it shapes everyday life,” says Boe, who also drew on her own experiences for the role. “I’ve had to deal with things similar to Jessica before. Being a teenager is really hard and you’re trying to figure out who you are and it’s only natural to feel anxious and depressed at times.”

As tough as her storyline got, Boe believes it will continue the important conversation sparked by the #MeToo movement. “We’re progressing past the victim blaming where we question the survivor rather than blaming them,” Boe says. “It’s a huge, huge shift in our culture.”

ALISHA WEARS JACKET AND DRESS NICOLE MILLER

Credits: MAKEUP HOLLY SILIUS (LOWE & CO) USING CHANEL PALETTE ESSENTIELLE, HAIR TRACI BARRETT (ART DEPARTMENT), PHOTO ASSISTANT BENJAMIN ASKINAS, STYLIST ASSISTANT AMIRA AOUDJ, LOCATION DUST STUDIOS

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