On “Orange is the New Black,” Dayanara Diaz is an inmate who wants to be released from prison in order to be with her lover John Bennett (Matt McGorry) and the child they’re about to have together.
But in real life, Dascha Polanco — the actress who plays Dayanara on the hit Netflix series — tells Fox News Latino she’d rather see Dayanara stay behind bars … permanently.
“I don’t want to get out of jail,” Polanco told Fox News Latino with a laugh. “I don’t want to get sent off to a different prison — I want to stay in Litchfield!” she added, explaining she’s having way too much fun playing “Daya” in her breakout role and wants to play the naïve inmate for as long as possible.
“I’m on a hit show,” noted with a smile the Dominican actress, whose acting credits include the film “Gimme Shelter” and the TV series “Unforgettable” on CBS.
“I’m grateful to be a part of this amazing project,” she said.
One of the best things about the show, Polanco said, is that it features a broad range of female characters from all walks of life.
“I think the show does an exceptional job with women across the board — not just Latinas,” she said. “We’re all different sizes, shapes, backgrounds, looks, social economic status — the show itself has such a broad diverse group of women and that’s one of the reasons it’s such a hit …We can all relate to somebody on the show,” added Polanco, who said that she herself grew up with girls like Daya who had a “tough upbringing.”
Polanco said fans who haven’t watched season two of “Orange is the New Black” – which premiered on June 6 – are in for a real treat.
“They ventured out more into other characters, into backstories — they also showed a very realistic side of Daya and her whole situation being pregnant and her conflict amongst Porn-Stache and Bennett,” she said.
“Jenji [Kohan, the show’s creator] and the writers have done the unexpected. And I’m pretty sure that once the fans watch the show, at the end they will still want more.”
Polanco also said the show’s Latino fans can look forward to the Latinas running the cocina in season two, now that Red (Kate Mulgrew) has been replaced in the kitchen by Gloria Mendoza (Selenis Leyva). So does that mean there are going to be croquetas and churros for dinner at Licthfield in season two?
“Todo!” said Polanco. “We’re going to have pasteles and rice and gandules. We’re going to have a little bit more of that Caribbean and Latino fusion,” she said.
So what does Dascha want for her beloved character, Daya? “I would love for her to end up with Bennett. But realistically I want her to go through what happens in real life,” she said. “We are all hopeless romantics and we would like for it to be Romeo and Juliet, but I want her to learn from her mistakes. I want her to serve her sentence. I also want her to grow up, because at times she [can] be a little immature and naive. It’s time for her to grow up,” Polanco said.
And Polanco warns that although her character may seem sweet and charming, there’s more to Daya than meets the eye.
“For the most part, we have very innocent or naive individuals in prison who may seem a certain way, but in reality they have their mean streaks,” said Polanco. “She’s not there for being good… Daya has little skeletons in her closet.”
And Polanco said those skeletons could come flying out in the near future.
“Soon we’ll probably get to know that side,” she teased. “Especially with all of the emotional mess she’s going through now.”
Lee Hernandez is the former Entertainment Editor for Latino Voices at The Huffington Post and the former Deputy Editor, Digital at Latina Magazine. He can be reached at Steinbecksletters@gmail.com or on Twitter.