Sola Sobowale (born 26th December 1965) is a 56 years old Nigerian actress best known for her recent portrayal of Oba in the Netflix movie, King of Boys. Even though she had been a famous actress long before she took on the role, she touched a new level of fame as Oba and has not slowed down since.
While many are still trying to wrap their minds around how she is suddenly such a big deal many years after she hit the limelight as Toyin Tomato in Wale Adenuga’s Super Story, Sobowale announced yet another groundbreaking feat with her Bollywood collaboration. Let’s dig further to see how she achieved stardom twice in one lifetime.
Where Is Sola Sobowale From?
The actress was born on the 26th December 1965 in her hometown in Ondo state to parents who lived a very humble lifestyle. Her father, Joseph Olagookun, was a teacher who would eventually rise through the ranks to become principal. He worked in this position until his eventual retirement from the teaching profession.
The family’s quality of life was also helped by the fact that her mother, Esther Olagookun, was also in the education line. She worked for many years as a teacher herself and rose through the ranks until she became a headmistress before her retirement. Because both parents were teachers, a young Sola was raised in utmost discipline and was taught to place a lot of value on education.
She once mentioned in an interview with Chude that her parents had other children besides herself, but she has not made any further revelations about who they are or even how many they are. She attended primary and secondary schools in Ondo state, where she spent the bulk of her early life.
For university, Sola got accepted into the University of Ibadan to study Music. She did graduate, but there has been no trace of whether she put the degree to any good use, especially since she had always had more interest in acting rather than singing.
How Old is Sola Sobowale Now?
The veteran actress is currently [dob age=”19651226″] years old. From all indications, her rise to fame did not happen as early as it often does for a lot of young actresses these days. In her case, even though she became a household name as far back as 2001, she was already a full-grown adult.
There are no details regarding how old she was when her acting career kicked off, but Sola Sobowale became famous as Toyin Tomato at the age of 36 in 2001. The actress has not revealed the exact year she left Nigeria when she took a 16-year hiatus from acting. However, considering that she was quite famous in 2001, it is assumed that she left sometime in early 2002 or late 2001, counting back from when she returned in 2016.
At the age of 51, Sola Sobowale made a massive comeback to the Nigerian acting scene with her role in Wedding Party. This role was particularly significant because she had been away from the big screens for 15 years. Her age at the time notwithstanding, she picked up right where she left off at the height of fame.
How Did Sola Sobowale Start Acting?
The story behind how Sola Sobowale became an actress would sound familiar to anyone who grew up in a Nigerian home with strict parents who value education as her parents did. Apparently, Sobowale’s parents had expectations that she would finish her university education and become an educator just like themselves.
Thus, when she chose to go into acting right after secondary school, her parents refused to give their permission. They were of the opinion that becoming an actress would make her wayward. It would take the intervention of her brother-in-law Tunji Oyelana who was himself an actor and a lecturer, to change their minds. He then enrolled her into the University of Ibadan and got her her first role in Sura the Tailor.
While she was still very well unknown in the industry, she starred in movies like The Village Headmaster, Mirror in the Sun, and the Yoruba film, Asewo To Re Mecca.
Sobowale Became a Household Name as Toyin Tomato
Sola Sobowale hit stardom a few years after she made her acting debut in the very first season of Super Story in 2001. Her role in the series, which was titled Oh Father, Oh Daughter, was so well accepted that it made her one of the most sought-after actresses at the time.
She caught the nickname of Toyin Tomato from the show, and it soon eclipsed her real name. But right on the heels of Oh Father, Oh Daughter, she landed a role in Christ in Me, and the rest, as they say, is history.
At the moment, her acting career has lasted for close to 40 years, and even though she does not have the longest list of filmography, she has made a huge impact with the roles she has taken on.
Sola Sobowale Took a 15-Year Hiatus from Acting
It is no news that the veteran actress was away from the big screens for a while. It was particularly obvious because she left at a time when she was at the very height of fame after Christ in Me. Many of her fans did not understand the situation at the time.
Years later, when she returned in 2016, she explained that left acting to be a better mother to her children. So the answer is simple – it was all about family. Apparently, she was married with kids at the time she hit stardom as an actress, so she had decided to have her kids school in the UK. However, when she traveled to visit them a month after, she realized that they needed their mother, so she stayed back in the UK.
In her words, the hiatus was not planned, but anyone who has children must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to raise them well and give them a good life. It took 16 years, but all of her kids are graduates now, hence her return to acting.
While she was away, however, she stayed in touch with the Nigerian movie scene as a scriptwriter. While at it, she also trained her children to write and has often admitted that they are big contributors to most of the scripts she has written.
Sola Sobowale Made Her Comeback with Wedding Party
In 2016, Sola Sobowale made a comeback to the Nigerian big screens with her role as Mrs. Tinuade Coker in Wedding Party. Her role in the movie was significant for a lot of reasons. First, being that it was her first appearance in a long time, many did not expect much.
However, when she played the mother of the bride to perfection, it catapulted her right back to stardom because the roles started pouring in again just as they did before she left. She rode the tide well this time because the roles she has taken on so far are well selected and executed.
Right on the heels of Wedding Party 1, she scored a role in the drama series Hustle and starred in it from 2016 to 2018. This was quickly followed by other movies like Christmas Is Coming, Wedding Party 2, King of Boys, and others. What is most remarkable about her comeback is how much she has achieved; it is almost as if she never left.
King of Boys 1 & 2 Are Considered Sola Sobowale’s Best Movies
Even though King of Boys 1 & 2 are the movies that marked the height of her comeback as an actress, they also double as some of her best works to date. The first installment of King of Boys proved to be an entirely new area of expertise for the actress who hitherto had often taken on drama and comedy roles.
Moreso, the character of Laburu is one that is more often associated with men; hence many thought a male character would have fit better.
However, that notion was soon put to rest after the movie premiered in 2018 because not only did Sola Sobowale play the role to perfection, but she also brought on all the fierceness it required. King of Boys has been hailed as one of her best works because besides all the attention it called to her expertise in interpreting just about any kind of role, it also got her some attention from award bodies.
In 2019, Sola Sobowale received the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for Best Actress for her lead role in King of Boys. King of Boys: Return of the King might be a sequel, but it is by far one of the most awe-inspiring roles of Sola Sobowale. If popular opinions are anything to go by, being Oba is a role that stretched the actress well past her comfort zone, and yet she delivered it excellently.
If there was any gap in action missing from the first installment, the Return of the King more than made up for it. Besides all of the above, the movie ranks as one of her best because the energy she brought to the role has been described as the glue that held the storyline together, without which it would all disintegrate.
For the success of Return of the King, she was named Most Influential Actor of 2021 by Pulse Influencer Awards. Expectations are still rife for more awards for her performance and for the series in general. Among other movies that rank as her best are Wedding party 1 & 2 and her breakout series Oh Father, Oh Daughter.
What is the Actress Up to Since King of Boys?
Even though the producers of King of Boys have not said much about a third installment, Sola Sobowale has definitely stayed at the top of her game since the last release. One of the most noticeable ways she has done this is through the many endorsement deals that she has amassed of late. It is not surprising to see that the number of brands eager to be associated with the actress has increased.
Her first known endorsement deal after her return was with real estate and property development company BSTAN Homes. Since then, the portfolio has increased to include the Telecom giant Globacom and more. Below is a list of some of the major brands she endorses.
Sola Sobowale Endorsement Deals
- BSTAN Homes
- Mouka Form
- Unity Bank
- Labule Farms
- Natnudo Foods
- Middle Chase Real Estate
Sola Sobowale on Her Bollywood Collaboration
In a recent and very exciting development, Sobowale announced that she would be working on a Bollywood collaboration with record-breaking Director/Exec Producer Hamisha Daryani Ahuja on her upcoming movie.
During the unveiling of the cast, it was announced that she would be working alongside other prominent Nigerian actors and actresses, including the likes of Richard Mofe Damijo, Nancy Isime, comedian Broda Shaggi, and Kannywood darling Rahama Sadau.
Hamisha Daryani Ahuja’s Namaste Wahala was a huge success in Nigeria when it was released, so there is no doubt that this upcoming project will be just as successful, especially considering the lineup of A-list actors. Considering how high she raised the bar as Oba, her fans can’t wait to see her next movie. Even more exciting for Sobowale is the fact that they would be shooting in India.