We Shine the Spotlight on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK STAR Dascha Polanco


Dascha Polanco appears on the Emmy nominated comedy, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Polanco guests as Daya Diaz, a pregnant inmate who although comes off very tough and aggressive, is actually an extremely sweet romantic. I spoke with Polanco about the casts Emmy nominations, Bennett and Daya’s relationship, and what she would like to see next season on the show.

The show received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Where were you when you heard the news?
I was on set.

How was the atmosphere on set after the news broke?
It was intense, everyone was cheering, and screaming, everyone got really emotional. I had a scene where I had to be teary, so it all worked out. (Laughs)

Daya had a lot of really great scenes this year, are there any specific scenes that stick out to you as your favorite?
Pretty much the scenes I had with my mother (Elizabeth Rodriguez) the Latinas, and also, obviously Bennett (Matt McGorry) are my faves. The romance and the storyline is really fun to shoot.

Do you think Daya and Bennett could make it work?
I think anything is possible, even with the given circumstances I think it’s a little challenging, but hopefully they do make it work. It’s hard to tell, when you’re locked up, there are a lot of factors. Hopefully they do make it work.

If Daya were to have the baby next season how do you think that would change her and Bennett’s relationship?
I think that the idea of her having a baby in prison is something she would have to challenge because she won’t be able to have the baby in prison. Also, it’s not Romeo and Juliet anymore; it’s like, real issues. You have a baby to take care of and there are more responsibilities. It might turn the relationship sour; it might make it happy, it’s hard to tell. The origin of Daya and Bennett already was not a normal circumstance. It’s something you really don’t see as far as, a baby daddy who is a prison guard and we have a family and that sort of thing. Jenji and the writers will hopefully write it so it had a realistic turn to it.

Are there any specific characters you would like to learn more about?
I like the variation, every season you don’t know what you’re gonna get. Maybe we’ll go into Spanish Harlem and learn more about that or go to Harlem and learn more about them. I like the surprise; I think that’s the beauty of it. You don’t expect it and than you learn something about that individual character, it kind of helps you embrace the program even more.

We saw a huge change in Piper (Taylor Schilling) this season, how do you think she’s changed since the first season? How do you think she will continue to change?
The relationships she’s established and the relationships she’s eliminated while in prison have influenced her and a person and have helped her grow. Hopefully her being in this situation and still being in prison will allow her to develop more relationships, become stronger, and become less naïve. I think it’s just a learning process and hopefully Piper assimilates all of that, in pursuit of happiness.

Alex (Laura Prepon) will be in he third season, how do you think that will affect Piper?
They have a history, Piper and Alex have a connection and it might tempt her or it might make her stronger and more decisive and not be so wishy- washy.

What would you like to see next season?
I would love to see them explore Spanish Harlem, and more back-stories. Jenji and the writers are doing a great job and I am all for whatever they decide to do. As an actress I would love more challenging scenes, Dayanara with Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) or Dayanara goes to Sophia’s (Laverne Cox) salon, that kind of fun stuff. Just the merging of different scenes with different characters, that sort of thing.

What did you think of the second season compared to the first?
Not because I’m part of the show, I think the show is amazing. It’s like a flower, a seed that was planted and now it’s growing and growing and it’s become this beautiful botanical garden, and I think that’s what the show is doing. It was a seed and now it’s growing and becoming better, it’s aging like wine and tasting better. I think we are just improving and improving.

You can catch Dascha in Season 2 of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK on Netflix.

Victoria Nelli loves TV so much that she is paying $30,000 a year to learn about it in College. When she’s not learning about TV she enjoys writing about her favorite shows, interviewing anyone in the industry that will let her, and ranting about how underrated Parks and Recreation is. She is very much aware of her Netflix addiction, and no she will not be seeking help anytime soon. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaNelli

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