Who Is Folake Olowofoyeku from ‘Bob (Hearts) Abishola’?

Last night audiences discovered Folake Olowofoyeku as the title character in Bob (Hearts) Abishola. She plays Bob. Just kidding. Olowofoyeku plays Abishola, a nurse who becomes the object of affection for her cardiac patient Bob (Billy Gardell). Olowofoyeku came to American from Nigeria in 2001. She went to City College of New York for economics for one semester before transitioning into theater.

Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob (Hearts) Abishola
Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob (Hearts) Abishola | Michael Yarish/2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Olowofoyeku spoke with reporters of the Television Critics Association in August about her journey to Bob (Hearts) Abishola. She has been working in film and television since 2004, but Bob (Hearts) Abishola is going to put her in everyone’s living room every Monday night at 8:30 on CBS.

Folake Olowofoyeku grew up on American sitcoms

The classic TV comedies did make their way to Nigeria, although Folake Olowofoyeku saw them a little later. 

Folake Olowofoyeku | Francis Specker/CBS

“I grew up on Fresh Prince, Martin,” Olowofoyeku said. “But we got this later on so probably by the time we had it, it was in syndication here probably, like the late ‘90s. I grew up on those two but we also got content from everywhere. We got content from England so I also grew up on some British sitcoms, like Fawlty Towers.”

Folake Olowofoyeku’s siblings weren’t supportive

Folake Olowofoyeku’s parents weren’t the only ones trying to talk her out of show business. Her siblings weren’t supportive either.

“Initially it was just like, ‘No, you would never be successful. What are you thinking? You’re not that beautiful. They mentioned one actress who was the only non-beautiful person in America in their opinion and I was probably going to go down her route and it would only be her, no possibilities for me. It doesn’t matter what they thought. I think now, it seems like they’re happy.”

Folake Olowofoyeku, Television Critics Association interview 8/1/19

Maybe her siblings even helped her develop a thick skin for the rejections of the audition process.

Bob (Hearts) Abishola
Billy Gardell amd Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob (Hearts) Abishola | Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

“It definitely made auditioning, all the rejection that you experience through this process, a lot easier to deal with because I’ve dealt with it already,” Olowofoyeku said.

Folake Olowofoyeku relates to Abishola

Abishola is also a Nigerian woman trying to make it work in America.

Folake Olowofoyeku and Billy Gardell on Bob (Hearts) Abishola | Michael Yarish/CBS

“In some ways. I think earlier on in my life, I was more like her in terms of being extremely proper and doing things by the book,” Olowofoyeku said. “I grew up like that. I went to boarding school when that was kind of reinforced. The ways we’re still similar would definitely be in determination, strength and independence, tenacity.”

Folake Olowofoyeku is ready for Hollywood

A prime time sitcom could change Folaka Olowofoyeku’s life. For her, fame wouldn’t be as drastic as the changes she’s already been through. 

“I think because of all I’ve been through, I just take it as it comes and enjoy the ride,” Olowofoyeku said. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen. All I can do is live in the moment, enjoy the beautiful people and try to do good work.”

Folake Olowofoyeku
Folake Olowofoyeku | Monty Brinton/CBS

Despite all the resistance and rejection Olowofoyeku experienced, her impressions of Hollywood are positive. 

“How important it is to be kind, that’s what I’ve been finding I think the most surprising,” Olowofyeku said. “How important it is to be kind and make and maintain good relationships and just leave people feeling better.”