Quarantine Routine: Dascha Polanco on Life After ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ Self-Love & Best Buddies

In a new SPY series, FN will interview celebrities, athletes and fashion insiders about their “Quarantine Routine” as they open up about the changes to their daily lives amid the coronavirus crisis.

Actress Dascha Polanco is social distancing like the rest of the country, and during this down time the “Orange Is the New Black” star is focused on self-care and self-love. But her idea of self-care goes beyond face masks and work outs.

“It’s taking care of yourself to the best of your ability and putting yourself first,” she said, wearing a pair of Crocs, during an Instagram Live interview last week. “It’s educating yourself, reading a book that helps your views. It’s you improving yourself. It’s not doing something to fit into a trend.”

While Polanco admits this is a hard time for everyone, she wanted to use her platform to support the Best Buddies International nonprofit, which consists of volunteers that create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Best Buddies is about inclusion and social interaction, so, for them, this has been difficult,” she explained, noting a recent Instagram Live session with one of her Best Buddies partners. “We have to find the silver lining and connection.” (You can donate to the nonprofit here).

For Polanco, the coronavirus has hit close to home since she worked in the medical field for eight years prior to her career in entertainment. Though she can’t be there, she’s remaining positive and encouraging others to stop the spread and to stay home.

And like most industries, Hollywood has taken a hit due to COVID-19, causing all of production to be on pause, which included the filming of “Samaritan,” where Polanco stars alongside Sylvester Stallone. The release of her upcoming movie “In the Heights” has also been postponed indefinitely.

“In order to create, we have to be there and be present,” she said. “We can’t get anything done now, and even though ‘In the Heights’ is postponed, it has to come out when it’s right. It’s a story of reliance and celebration.”

She added, “I’m working as much as possible to say creative for future goals. Now I have the time to plan this out, create storyboards so when the time comes we can execute. When I get out of this, I want to look back and achieve the goals that I set. I’m testing my consistency.”

We couldn’t let Polanco go without discussing life after “Orange Is the New Black,” which aired its series finale in July 2019. Especially since the world is busy binge-watching so much content right now, it felt right to talk about “OITNB,” which started that trend.

“That’s always going to be a show that has impacted society in such a huge way,” she explained. “It catapulted Netflix. I feel proud. I embrace people who appreciate what the show did for them. Looking back, it was such a great beginning [for my career thanks to] the doors that it opened.”

Watch the interview, here:

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