'The Bear' Breakout Star Joins 'Abbott Elementary' as Janine's Sister

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Mar. 9 2023, Published 10:47 a.m. ET

Ayesha and Janine in 'Abbott Elementary'
Source: ABC

Since its inception, Janine (Quinta Brunson) has mentioned her sister, Ayesha, in Abbott Elementary. The second-grade teacher often speaks about her strained relationship with her sister and the difficulty she has getting her to come back home and visit Philly. Luckily, fans got their first glimpse of Ayesha in the Valentine's Day episode — via FaceTime.

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Following that brief appearance, viewers have been waiting (im)patiently to meet Ayesha in the flesh. And finally, in the latest episode titled "Teacher Appreciation," Ayesha arrives in Philly, and boy is it one tense and emotional reunion.

Keep reading for all the known details regarding Janine's sister and the actor who plays her.

janine facetiming sister abbott elementary
Source: ABC
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Who plays Janine's sister in 'Abbott Elementary'?

For starters, the star behind Janine's sister, Ayesha, is Ayo Edebiri. The 27-year-old actor recently gained wider recognition in the entertainment industry thanks to her breakout role as sous chef Sydney Adamu in The Bear, for which she received nominations from the Gotham Awards, the Critics' Choice Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

Ayo began her career as a stand-up comedian and television writer, contributing to What We Do in the Shadows, Big Mouth, and the Apple TV Plus dramedy series Dickinson before starring as Hattie in the latter. Also, she recently replaced Jenny Slate as the voice of Missy in Big Mouth.

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ayo edebiri wins award for the bear
Source: Getty Images

Ayo's upcoming projects include co-producing and writing for the Netflix animated series Mulligan, voicing the lead role in the Netflix animated special We Lost Our Human, and voicing April O'Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. As for live-action, fans can see her on the big screen in the upcoming comedy films Theater Camp and Bottoms.

She's also making her MCU debut in the 2024 film Thunderbolts in an undisclosed role.

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Janine and Ayesha fight for most of the "Teacher Appreciation" episode.

Spoiler alert: This section contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 18 of Abbott Elementary.

The episode title says it all — it's Teacher Appreciation Week! The district gives Abbott two courtside tickets to a 76ers game, and while the entire school fights over the tickets, Janine invites the teachers to her house for game night. However, things escalate when she gets a surprise visit from her sister, Ayesha.

From the start, things are tense — Ayesha drops her bags off at Janine's apartment and immediately goes to hang out with other friends. Jacob (Chris Perfetti) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams) come to the rescue, but their presences aren't enough because Janine and Ayesha storm out of the apartment and get into it.

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abbott elementary ayo edebiri
Source: ABC

Though the details are sparse, Ayesha apparently abandoned Janine in Philly during a time when their family was going through a rough patch. In the end, the sisters make peace and all seems well — Ayesha even visits Janine at Abbott! But, we hope to receive more answers about Janine's backstory because it's clearly something that has taken a toll on her.

New episodes of Abbott Elementary air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.

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