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Dascha Polanco      

Dominican-American Actress; Best Known for "Orange is the New Black" and "When They See Us"

Dascha Polanco is a Dominican American actress. She was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at a young age. She was raised in Brooklyn and Miami by her father, a mechanic, and her mother, a cosmetologist.

Polanco aspired to be an actress from an early age but "always doubted auditioning because of [her] weight", and so she completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at Hunter College. After college, she began working in the healthcare industry with the intention to become a nurse. She was working as a hospital administrator at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, while studying nursing, when her fiancé encouraged her to pursue acting again and paid for her registration with an acting studio as a gift. She attended BIH Studios in New York, which is where she was signed by the talent agency Shirley Grant Management. Her first acting credits were minor parts on the television series "Unforgettable" and "NYC 22."

In 2012, Polanco was cast in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black as Dayanara "Daya" Diaz, an inmate in a women's prison; it was her first full-time acting job. Her character is the daughter of Aleida Diaz, portrayed by Elizabeth Rodriguez, who in real life is only two years older than Polanco. Polanco subsequently appeared in the 2013 independent film "Gimme Shelter" before returning to her role on "Orange Is the New Black," which she has remained in for the show's entire run.

Outside of "Orange is the New Black," Polanco has appeared in the comedy "The Cobbler," "Russian Doll," "American Crime Story" and "When They See Us." She plays Cuca in Lin Manuel-Miranda's movie, "In The Heights," a movie adaptation of original award-winning Broadway musical.


'OITNB's Dascha Polanco Joins Jennifer Lawrence In 'Joy' | Deadline

Orange Is The New Black regular Dascha Polanco is set to co-star in Joy, the David O. Russell pic from Fox 2000 about the rags-to-riches story of Miracle Mop  ...

'OITNB' Star Dascha Polanco Opens Up About Battling Depression ...

Dascha Polanco, who plays Dayanara (Daya) Diaz on the show, spoke candidly in a recent interview with Latina magazine about her battle with depression after  ...

Prominent Actresses Star in Videos to Tell Women’s Personal Stories of Abortion

The Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a new series of videos featuring Elizabeth Banks, Amy Brenneman, Mercedes Mason, Mary McCormack, Dascha Polanco, Retta and Bellamy Young in which they read stories from women who have decided to have an abortion.

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