Independent and driven, an actress and a mother of two, Dascha Polanco plays the jailbird sweetheart, “Dayanara Diaz,” on the hit Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black.The SAG Award winning actress, recently completed a co-starring role in the David O. Russell directed JOY opposite Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. The 20th Century Fox film is set for release on Christmas day. In addition, Dascha recently finished filming THE PERFECT MATCH for director Bille Woodruff and producer Queen Latifah in which she stars with Donald Faison and Paul Patton. She was last seen in Tom McCarthy’s THE COBBLER starring Adam Sandler and Method Man.
Born in the Dominican Republic (fluent in Spanish) and raised in Brooklyn by way of Miami, Dascha is the eldest daughter of a mechanic and cosmetologist. When she got her big break in OITNB, Dascha was attending classes for nursing at LIU and working as a Central Sterile Manager/surgical tech in a New York City hospital.
Dascha landed her big screen debut opposite Vanessa Hudgens in the dramatic independent flick, GIMME SHELTER. Ms. Polanco has been featured in an Old Navynational Spanish commercial campaign. Recently, she became part of the NFL's 2015/2016 Women’s Apparel campaign representing the New York Giants and the Latino community.
Her achievements have been recognized by the ALMA Awards, The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (Lupe Award), and the 2015 Dominican Day Parade in New York City. She was featured on the covers of the June/July issue of Latino magazine, and the August issue of New York Family magazine. Dascha lives in New York City with her family.