Actress Folake Olowofoyeku opens up about bringing the Nigerian immigrant experience to a network sitcom and why she's proud to play a nurse on television.
African actors rarely get to play African roles on American TV, especially respectful ones. Folake Olowofoyeku is the notable exception. Over the past year, the Nigerian actress has quietly made history as the star of the CBS comedy series, Bob Hearts Abishola. The sleeper hit has already been picked up for a second season.
Because it was hard for many to imagine the upside of an American TV sitcom with the premise of a white man in Detroit falling for the African nurse who cares for him in the hospital following a heart attack scare, many folks just didn't know what to expect. Some folks still haven't checked it out.
"I understand what the reservations were," Olowofoyeku tells OkayAfrica via phone from Los Angeles. "You just have to watch it. You have to give it a chance and not just judge it based on what your ideas might be."
Those who have given it a chance have learned that, based on the show's premise, Abishola, who lives with her aunt and uncle, is not who they thought she would be. In fact, when Bob starts pursuing her, she seems just as confused as his own family and many of us. Busy raising her son Dele and working long hours as a nurse, a relationship is the absolute last thing on Abishola's mind. Bob has to pursue her, respectfully of course, to get her to even consider the idea of them.