There's A Reason Young Daya On OITNB Looks So Familiar

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Daya (Dascha Polanco) is, in many ways, the character holding the fifth season of Orange Is The New Black together. The fourth season ended on a major cliffhanger: Daya pointing a gun at CO Humphrey (Michael Torpey). And much of season 5 focuses on Daya's internal struggle about how to deal with her actions.
Of course, much of Daya's present life is influenced by the past actions of her mother, Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez). In episode 8, "Tied to the Tracks," we see a flashback to when Daya was a young teenager, and Aleida encourages her to make the first move on a guy her friend likes. Both the boy and Daya's friend end up rejecting her, which only furthers Daya's anger towards her mother.
The teenage Daya looks strikingly like Dascha Polanco — and it turns out, there's a great reason why. The actress playing young Daya is 15-year-old Dasany Kristal Gonzalez, who happens to be Polanco's daughter in real life.
As Decider points out, Gonzalez's casting isn't the only time the Netflix drama has cast the actors' family members. In the flashback scenes of Sophia (Laverne Cox) before her transition, Cox's real-life twin brother, M. Lamar, played Marcus Burset.
E! News notes that 34-year-old Polanco has spoken out about having her daughter at a young age in the past. Polanco also has a son, Aryam, who is now seven years old.
"She's a blessing, a miracle baby," Polanco told Latina magazine of Gonzalez in 2015. "But for a first experience, it was difficult."
If Gonzalez decides to follow in her mom's footsteps and pursue acting, it looks like she's off to a great start so far. Hopefully we'll see more of the young Daya in future OITNB seasons.
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