Take 10 With Folake Olowofoyeku
Actor, 36, Los Angeles
1. Soon after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, you had symptoms of COVID-19. You feel better now, but do you think you had the virus?
There’s no way to know for sure because I couldn’t get a test. I didn’t think anything of it on the first day, but the following day I started feeling pressure on my chest and it was really hard to breathe. Walking from the bedroom to the bathroom, I was out of breath. That alarmed me, so I called the doctor and she put me on quarantine.
2. You recently started working with ONE, a global movement to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030. What inspired you?
Their thought process is in line with mine. Their motto is that especially with COVID-19, we’re not safe until we’re all safe. They work with vulnerable people around the world, which is important to me, being from Nigeria. They have a team in Nigeria and I’m looking forward to working closely with them.
3. On the CBS series Bob Hearts Abishola, your character, Abishola, is a nurse. How did you prepare for the role?
I rang up a couple of my doctors to see if I could shadow their nurses and facilities, but it was a privacy issue. I spoke to my friend, who’s a nurse in Atlanta. We also have a great medic on set who advises us. I was able to get enough information to inform what I needed to do as an actor, which is not a lot compared to what real nurses are doing, especially now.
4. You’ve been in the U.S. since 2001. Do people approach health differently here than in Nigeria?
The health care system in America is a lot more advanced. You have more opportunities to see doctors. The facilities, depending where you are, are state of the art. We’re starting to see a few of those come up, in Lagos particularly, but it’s not as prominent as it is here. A lot of people still have to fly out of Nigeria to get proper medical care.
5. You recently found out you have endometriosis. Did it surprise you?
I got diagnosed with it recently, but going back to the health care system in Nigeria not being so great, I obviously had it since I was 13, from the first time I had a period. It was excruciating. Growing up, I used to gain 5 pounds every time I had my period. It was just a thing I lived with. I didn’t know what endometriosis was.
6. How do you stay healthy and fit while filming?
I don’t! This is the longest job I’ve ever had. Before this, my longest job was maybe about a month. I was trying to figure it out. I was also commuting a little over two hours every day, so the last thing I could do was work out or do meal prep. Being on quarantine has helped me get back in order. I’m eating small portions every two hours and I’m trying not to eat after 6 or 7 o’clock.
7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. I love Quality Street. It’s this British chocolate, an assorted mix of chocolates from Nestlé.
8. Do you have a favorite workout?
I love to play basketball, but I get really bad shin splints. I’m going to figure out a way to rehab that, but for now I’m just going on bike rides around my neighborhood.
9. How do you relax?
I’m really into self-care. Before the quarantine, I got in-home massages sometimes twice a week. I go to spas. I’ve started transcendental meditation. At work, I listen to music. When I’m in a mellow mood, I listen to Enya or Jonathan Goldman’s Healing Sounds.
10. Is the best part of your life behind you or ahead of you?
I think I’m in it right now.
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