‘Orange Is the New Black’ Star Dascha Polanco Is About to Make You Feel Hella Empowered

The actress talks motherhood, body image, and role models.

Dascha Polanco continues to pave the way for women in the entertainment industry. In addition to Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler (in theaters today), the Latina star will be joining Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence in the upcoming film, Joy, while fan-favorite Orange Is the New Black returns this June.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we spoke to this fearless actress about the women who inspire her, body image in Hollywood, and life as a working mom. Come for the empowering real talk, and stick around for her killer Daya-Bennett OITNB spinoff idea.

If you could be anyone for a day, like Sandler’s character in The Cobbler, who would you be?
Dascha Polanco
: I think I would be a man. To be the opposite sex and see what it is to be like not having to squat when I use the bathroom, not having my period. [Laughs.]

In the film, your character isn’t happy with her relationship. What advice would you give to a woman who isn’t satisfied with her situation?
I think we always try to blame ourselves for a situation. We’re held responsible for our actions, but I think there’s a time where you have the decision to make yourself happy. Step out of a situation that’s not comfortable for you – only you can make that [happen]. If you’re unhappy, if you’re in danger – not that I’m saying it’s easy, because it’s a process – only you know when it’s right, when you can leave, or when you can decide to stop it.