When she learned she booked her first significant role as Daya Diaz on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, Dascha Polanco was rocking a lab coat during her stint at one of the many hospitals she worked at in New York City. That call changed her life forever. Since then, the actress has appeared in several movies, including most recently as Cuca, one of the lead salon ladies, in the Lin-Manuel Miranda film In the Heights.
“The table read for Joy was unforgettable. First of all, I was in Boston. Second of all, I was across the table of Robert De Niro. I mean, Robert De Niro, come on. Something people wouldn’t expect from working with Lin Manuel Miranda is I used to be intimidated by him. And now I’m like, you don’t scare me. He’s so sweet. And he’s so generous,” Polanco says when she sat down with us for her Badass Questionnaire interview below.