Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Dascha "Dash" Polanco is an actress best known for playing Dayanara Diaz on Orange Is the New Black. Born in the Dominican Republic, she moved to the United States at a young age. She was raised in Brooklyn and Miami. 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 was working as a hospital administrator while studying nursing, when her fiancé encouraged her to pursue acting and paid for her registration with an acting studio as a gift.
Polanco's first acting credits were minor parts on the television series Unforgettable and NYC 22. In 2012, she 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. Polanco next appeared in the 2013 independent film Gimme Shelter. In June 2014, it was announced that she had been promoted from a recurring role to a series regular for the show's third season.