This 'OITNB' Star Has A Strong Message on Body Image

July 20th 2015

Dascha Polanco plays Dayanara Diaz, my favorite character on Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," and thanks to her recent inspiring comments on living with body image issues, she's now one of my favorite celebrities.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Polanco said she has struggled with body image issues her entire life but is learning to love herself no matter what. As a public figure, she feels she should use her power for good by publicly discussing this reality.

"I think it’s very important [to talk about it] when you’re in a position of where you are looked upon or onto as a role model or inspiration," she told the publication. "Young girls and women, we all need that sense of security and that empowerment, so it’s very important for me to display that."

When asked how she "overcame" body image struggles, Polanco clarified that she has not, in fact, gotten past this struggle, which is an ongoing force in her life.

"I think that I’m learning how to not make the insecurities a reason for me to not achieve my goals or go for my dreams, aspire to bigger things," she said. "I think that I still have those qualities but I am embracing them more and I’m learning to make those differences unique qualities as opposed to negative obstacles or thoughts. Weight has been an issue in my life."

Polanco added that she believes Latinas especially experience body image issues as a result of being curvy. She said it's also a challenge when clothing manufacturers don't have sample sizes for all body types.

"I think that when I go into the store and they say ‘Oh I have a sample’ and I go ‘Oh OK so that means you have a sample 10, so I’m going to be able to fit into a sample 10,'" she said. "Don’t tell me you have a sample and the sample is a zero because that’s not what the norm for me is."

Several months ago, she made similar remarks in an interview with VH1:

"You always see the size zero, skinny significant other. I’ve seen a lot of movies and I rarely see the main chick as a woman with the curves. It’s not about having the curves, I think it’s deeper than that. I tweeted a quote the other day [about] my whole life, my appearance, and not looking like what was depicted and accepted. I realized that it’s not about how I look outside; it’s about how I feel about my differences inside, and how a difference can be so beautiful. There are women who are born with more volume than others, but that difference is what intrigues [others] and allows you to have uniqueness that you should use positively. It’s time for us to really evaluate [ourselves] in the mirror and say, 'This is OK. I can too bring out any quality. I can too be on the cover of any magazine, just the way I am.'"

She posted this on Instagram as well:

Over the weekend, Polanco shared an image on Facebook from a waist training session in NYC:


Like Caitlyn Jenner, Polanco has also chosen to participate in The Tyler Clementi Foundation's #Day1 anti-bullying campaign:

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