Castle's Toks Olagundoye: 5 Things to Know
Toks Olagundoye has done comedy (on The Neighbors) and drama (on Castle), but there’s a whole lot more up the Nigerian-born actress’ sleeve.
Here are five things to know about the diversely talented 40-year-old star:
1. She’s always been an overachiever.
Though she was born in Nigeria, Olagundoye grew up spending time in London and her mother’s native Norway as well.
But she also spent summers in school in Switzerland in her youth.
“It wasn’t like school to make up for things you didn’t do well in during the regular school year. It was for kids who were overachievers and wanted to keep learning,” she tells PEOPLE. “Some kids went to camp, I went to school!”
Later, she went to boarding school in England for high school and move to the U.S. to attend college.
“I did about 22 shows while I was in college,” says Olagundoye. “I also hosted a show for PBS and did some regional theater.”
2. She was discovered while getting her nails done.
After college, Olagundoye moved to New York and had taken an internship with a local theater company.
“I gave myself ten years to get an agent and get into the unions,” says the actress who interned at the Women’s Project offices and taught theater at a school in Harlem for a year and a half until a fateful trip to her regular nail salon.
“I didn’t even have headshots yet. I wasn’t auditioning. But apparently there was a casting director getting her nails done at the same time,” she says. “I had no idea but after I left, the woman who did my nails called me and told me, ‘This woman wants to know if you act and if you can do a British accent.’ ”
Olagundoye booked the small project the casting director had been interested in her for but she says she still had to wait a long time for her big break.
“I did a lot of background work,” she says of being an extra in projects. “There’s probably about five Sex and the City episodes you can see me walking around in.”
3. She doesn’t always have a British accent
“I went to an American school in Nigeria,” explains the actress. “But when I moved to America, people told my American accent sounded Canadian. But I unconsciously switch between a British and American accent depending on who I’m talking to.”
4. She’s knows how to shoot a gun – and had a scary experience with one as a child.
“Growing up in Nigeria, unfortunately I have been way too close to guns several times,” says Olagundoye. “I literally know what it sounds like to have a bullet whiz past your head. If I had been standing five inches to the right, I would not be here right now.”
Having been nearby when an an assassination took place and been robbed at gunpoint, Olagundoye says she’s “always been terrified of guns.” But when she moved to Los Angeles, she met a lot of people had guns.
“It made me nervous to know that so many people had them in their possession so I decided I was going to learn how to use one in case I was ever in a situation where I needed to,” she says.
She took a safety class and it turned out she was a fairly good marksman.
“I’ve been told I have ancestors on my mother’s side who were Olympic shooters, so I guess I had it in my blood,” she says. “I don’t know if I’m going to win any competitions, though. I won’t be shooting apples off people’s heads or anything.”
5. She’s a happy newlywed!
On May 16, Olagundoye wed Sean Quinn, whom she met on Twitter almost a decade ago.
“Anyone who says it’s not different is a liar,” she says of moving in with Quinn three months before their wedding. “I went to boarding school so since the age of 14 I’ve spent more time away from my family than i have with them and it’s the first time since before then that I get to live with a family member. That feels really good.”
The Castle mid-season finale airs MONDAY (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.