‘OITNB’: Will Daya & Bennett’s Relationship Survive? — Interview

Season 2 of 'Orange Is The New Black' premiered on June 6 at midnight PT, and HollywoodLife.com caught up with Dascha Polanco, who gave us some insight into what life is like for her character, Daya, a pregnant inmate in a love affair with her correctional officer. Read on for our exclusive interview! Dayanara "Daya" Diaz (Dascha Polanco), like the rest of her peers on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black, is one of the most complex characters in scripted television. Neglected by her mother, who was more interested in her own affairs within the drug trade, Daya had to raise her younger siblings essentially on her lonesome before she landed in prison herself. In an exclusive interview with Dascha, she revealed to HollywoodLife.com her hopes for Daya, how Daya is feeling in Season 2 as an inmate pregnant by her correctional officer, and much more! Light spoilers are below, but nothing too crazy -- we didn't want to spoil ourselves, either!

Orange Is The New Black Daya Bennett
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Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

‘Orange Is The New Black’: Dayanara Diaz’s State Of Mind For Season 2

We caught up with Dascha while she was in between filming for Season 3 of OITNB, and we’re not too shy to tell you that even though we’ve yet to finish Season 2, we’re already greedy for Season 3! But let’s stay on topic — see below for our Q&A with Dascha!

HollywoodLife.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your perspective on how Daya is hanging in there for Season 2?
Dascha Polanco: Daya is pregnant, she is going through the hormonal imbalance that pregnant women go through. She’s in a situation where she has two men in her life. One that she’s in love with and one that she’s apparently confused about. I think Daya is maturing now. She’s more interested in her relationship with her mom. It’s going to change the whole direction of the show. The use of Piper to show the other characters on the series, and I’m looking forward to showing more of the other cellmates venturing out when it comes to relationships and their emotions in jail. Orange Is The New Black is a comedy with dramatic elements. People are going to be even more satisfied and more eager to see what comes next. The writers have started their own trend and I think that they’ve stepped up to the bar.

‘Orange Is The New Black’: Daya Diaz’s Relationship With Her Mother And With Bennett

HL: So, Daya’s mother, Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez), wanted her to keep the baby; will there be a more traditional mother/daughter relationship between them or will it always be contentious?
DP: I think that they’ll be able to communicate more. The fact that Dia is becoming a mother means that she’ll be able to communicate more efficiently with her own mother. It’s more like Daya and Aleida are developing a working relationship — they’re just set in their ways.

‘OITNB’ Premiere Recap: Will Alex Betray Piper Once Again?

HL: Because of Daya’s relationship with her mother, and how she basically had to take care of her own siblings, Daya is an incredibly sympathetic character. Will we see more of her backstory? Will she continue to be so sympathetic to viewers?
DP: For this season, [the writers] focus more on [Daya’s] pregnancy and having two men in her life. Because I think that’s something very major. The writers … want to lead the audience’s attention to their relationship now.

‘OITNB’ Season 2 Tease: ‘People Definitely Get Called On Their Sh**’

HL: Daya has a very innocent demeanor despite her being in prison; is she trying to relive the adolescence she lost? For example, note-passing, etc., with Bennett?
DP: She’s a hopeless romantic. I think that we all have a little hopeless romantic in us. And regardless of her circumstance, for the first time in her life she’s able to make a choice, in a sense, and is actually able to love herself being a mother and also having someone love her. This is what she’s been wanting, this is what’s been missing from her life. Even though she’s in jail, and even though the circumstances are quite rough, I think she’s secretly kind of enjoying it. It’s like she’s emancipated, but yet, she’s in jail.

‘Orange Is The New Black’: Daya Is Not So Different From Her Mother, And Consent; The Heavy Issues

HL: Why didn’t Daya decide to leave the drug scene after her mother was jailed? Why was it so important for her to get back at her mother?
DP: This is what she grew up around, so no matter what she needs to do to take charge, she needs to take care of her brother, her sister, that kind of thing. … No matter how much she tries to fight it, she does have some of her mother’s qualities, and this is why she’s in jail, obviously. It’s not because she was good and trying to be so far opposite from her mother.

HL: Regarding Bennett and Daya, legally, she can’t consent. Should their relationship survive? Will it? What can we expect?
DP: In my opinion, I want her relationship to survive. I want her to have something with Bennett in the long term; realistically speaking, I don’t think [consent was] something that she didn’t have. She was very well aware of what she was doing when it came to Bennett, she was attracted to [him], and she was just naïve. Maybe Bennett could have said, ‘No, I can put a stop to this,’ but when it comes to love, … we all do stupid things. … Sometimes, you know, our actions are regretted later on, but it’s a part of love, you know? When you’re in that situation, controlling that is very difficult.

‘Orange Is The New Black’: Dascha’s Favorite Scene To Film In Season 2; Off-Set Dynamic

HL: Moving on from heavy issues… What was your favorite part of filming Season 2?
DP: I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I’m going to give you a hint. We had a scene where Bennett and I were seeing each other and we had to make it seem like something else was going on; we had to pretend. We were in the middle of the scene and we would always crack up and had to just take a moment to laugh because no matter how natural we made it seem it was just so unnatural… that, I cant forget. Oh my god, it was so funny.

HL: What’s the dynamic like between the cast when you’re not filming?
DP: We talk a lot about what’s going on in the entertainment industry, ironically, and so we see [each other] and we’re like ‘I cannot believe they said that!,’ that kind of thing. Pretty much like a sorority house meets high school reunion when we’re not on set.

So, HollywoodLifers, will you be watching Season 2 of OITNB? What do you think about Daya and Bennett’s relationship — will they eventually find happiness together? Should they? Or is their romance as doomed and star-cross’d as Romeo and Juliet’s? Let us know!

— Amanda Michelle Steiner

More ‘Orange Is The New Black’:

  1. ‘OITNB’ Season 2 Tease: ‘People Definitely Get Called On Their Sh**’
  2. Laverne Cox: ‘OITNB’ Actress Says Genitals & Biology Are Not Destiny
  3. Taryn Manning: Why It’s ‘Liberating’ To Play Tiffany On ‘OITNB’

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