Dascha Polanco

Award-winning Activist, Latina Trailblazer and Advocate for Diversity & Women's Rights

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn by way of Miami, SAG Award winning actress Dascha Polanco is well-known for her groundbreaking roles in Hollywood as a leading young Latina actor. A fan favorite, Polanco played the role of “Dayanara Diaz” on the hit Netflix original series, “Orange is the New Black” (OITNB).

Up next, Dascha will be seen in “Junction” alongside Sophia Bush and Griffin Dunne. In 2023, she starred in the Peacock anthology series, “Poker Face”, opposite Natasha Lyonne and created & directed by Rian Johnson. In addition, she starred in “Miguel Wants to Fight” by Hulu, “A Little Prayer” by Angus MacLachlan. She accomplished narration work as adult Cucu in “Gordita Chronicles,” by HBO Max’s and Ms. Camila Torres in “Karma’s World.”


Previously, Polanco was seen in HBO Max’s adaption of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights”, the MGM film, “Samaritan” opposite Sylvester Stallone as well as the voice of Jessica Cruz / The Green Lantern in “DC’s League of Super Pets” and “Detective Lori Wieder” in the Ryan Murphy FX anthology series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”


Other credits include Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” opposite Robert De Niro, Ava DuVernay’s Emmy-winning Netflix series “When They See Us” alongside John Leguizamo and, she co-starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in the 20th Century Fox film, “JOY”, directed by David O. Russell which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. No stranger to the big screen, Polanco also starred in “The Perfect Match” (2016) directed by Billie Woodruff and producer Queen Latifah and in Adrian Martinez’s indie dark comedy “iCreep”. She has also starred in Tom McCarthy’s “The Cobbler” with Adam Sandler (2015) and made her big screen debut opposite Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson in the dramatic independent flick, “GIMME SHELTER.”


Polanco first received her big break in “OITNB” while attending classes for nursing at LIU and working as a Central Sterile Manager/Surgical Tech in two New York City hospitals. Since then, in addition to numerous film and TV roles, Polanco has been featured as the face of Old Navy’s national Spanish commercial campaign. In 2015/2016 she became part of the NFL’s Women’s Apparel campaign, representing the New York Giants and the Latino community.


Her achievements have been recognized by numerous awards, including the ALMA Awards, HOLA Awards, The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (Lupe Award), and the Imagen Awards Celebrating Latino Excellence. Huffington Post recognized her as one of the Latinas to be “Breaking The Mold,” and The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the 40 Young Latino Powerhouses in Hollywood. In addition, she was honored by the City of New York named “Dascha Polanco Day” for the Independence of Dominican Republic and the U.S. Congress at the White House for her contribution to film and television representing Dominican artistry.

As an activist and advocate for the Latinx community and women’s rights, Polanco is on the Entertainment Committee for Feeding America. She is also very involved with the DREAM Project Foundation, which provides more than 732,000 hours of quality education to more than 8,200 children through 14 different programs across 27 communities in the Dominican Republic. Polanco is outspoken about representation of diversity in Hollywood as well as size inclusivity.