When National Treasure: Edge of History was greenlit for Disney Plus, no one could have imagined the direction the National Treasure franchise spinoff would take without leading man Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage). Now, the story focuses on new protagonist Jess Valenzuela, a Mexican American DREAMer, unpacking her family history with friends in tow.
Jess is played by up-and-coming actress Lisette Olivera, but who is Lisette? Keep reading for everything you need to know about Lisette (and Jess!) in National Treasure: Edge of History.
Lisette Olivera plays the leading role of Jess Valenzuela in 'National Treasure: Edge of History.'
In National Treasure: Edge of History, Mexican American DREAMer Jess is grieving the recent death of her mother when she receives a clue to a centuries-old treasure in the form of a family heirloom necklace. However, Jess isn't the only one interested in locking the secrets of her past (and the prize!): She's up against black-market antiquities dealer Billie, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
On the show, Jess's father dies before the events of the series in an attempt to prevent thieves from finding the location of an Aztec Empire relic. He was double-crossed by a mysterious and ruthless boss in the process, leading to her mother fleeing to the United States from Mexico in an attempt to escape her father's treasure hunting.
Speaking to Metacritic about her role, Lisette explains that she and Jess are very similar in many ways. "I have a really strong connection with my family and what they mean to me. I think they make me a better artist because of how they operate in the world and their experiences," she says.
Lisette added, "So when I think about Jess and I think about how she thinks about her mother, it's almost as though a piece of herself left the day that she had passed away. Because for me, in Lisette's life, I would describe my mother as almost like my heartbeat. She's my champion, and somebody that has always helped me move forward."
As a fellow Mexican American citizen, Lisette also said director Mira Nair encouraged her to pour more of herself into Jess.
"Mira Nair, who directed the first episode, actually kind of gave me the permission to say, 'Hey, let's do that detail. Let's have her touch her necklace or acknowledge the necklace whenever she's thinking about her family.' The fact that she can't hug her mother or her father in a way kind of resembles how she has a tendency to want to touch something so close and personal to her."
According to her IMDB page, Lisette is also an accomplished dancer, vocalist, and musician. Although National Treasure: Edge of History might be her first big project, keep an eye out for her next!
New episodes of National Treasure: Edge of History air on Wednesdays exclusively on Disney Plus.