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The Big Reason Young Daya Looks So Familiar on Orange Is the New Black

If you’re anything like us, you got to Orange Is the New Black season five, episode eight, “Tied to the Traintracks,” and you did a double take during the flashback, which reveals more of Daya’s (Dascha Polanco) backstory. The 14-year-old version of Daya looks so much like the grown-up version that you almost start to wonder if she’s played by Polanco and the show is using special effects to make her look younger. But it turns out the only special effects they needed are Polanco’s own daughter.
That’s right, young Daya is played by 16-year-old Dasany Kristal Gonzalez, the eldest of Polanco’s three children, who was born when Polanco was just 18 years old. She told Latina magazine back in 2015 that it was hard to raise her daughter alone – Polanco’s mother passed away shortly after Dasany’s birth, so Polanco was on her own.
“I went through a large depression and started feeling emotionally isolated,” Polanco said. “I remember having to find somebody to stay with my daughter because I didn’t want to stop school, and I couldn’t stop working.”
But now, Polanco has two more children and is “engaged to a good-hearted man” who supports her unconditionally, she told The Huffington Post in a separate interview.
Whether Dasany will follow in her mother’s footsteps remains to be seen, but she is definitely off to a good start by playing her mom on OITNB. The flashback, which fleshed out young Daya’s relationship with her mother, Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez), makes a nice parallel with Daya’s struggle to secure a future for her baby Armaria after she decides to turn herself in for shooting Humphrey.

Source: Pop Sugar

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