Known for her role as Dayanara “Daya” Diaz on “Orange Is the New Black,” Dascha Polanco admits there are days when she feels bold enough to wear “a bodysuit with a jacket over it and walk the hell out of it.” But she also has days when she hates her body and covers it in sweats and a hoodie.

“How I have remained in cruise control is by facing that mirror and taking pictures and repeating to myself, ‘I accept myself and I am so much more than this body,’” says the actress. “It’s OK to not like it sometimes, but it’s best to push through those moments.”

She copes with the stress in her own way.

“As therapy, I love to do a puzzle,” she says. “It’s all mind and soul over matter. Time will surpass you. Live and seize the moment.”

Embracing her beauty

Polanco has learned a lot about self-confidence and loving herself.

“Body empowerment has been scarce in my life and a necessity,” she says, noting everyone — including women, men and members of the LGBT community — needs positive body images.

She wants everyone to “embrace, care and accept” their bodies without negativity.

A mother of two, Polanco says she feels most beautiful when she works out, eats clean and feels healthy. She enjoys smelling good and loves to have a great scent on after she’s bathed and dressed. She’s also at her best when her home is tidy.

A fulfilling career

Polanco is passionate about her job.

“The most rewarding part of my career is bringing these characters to life,” she says, explaining she’s fulfilled by the idea that the audience connects with her art. 

“Influencing others to pursue their dream is a bonus.”