Dascha Polanco on ‘In the Heights’ and Being Nice to Her Body


You may recognize Dascha Polanco from new movie In The Heights—it hit theaters on June 11—but the Dominican-born star is much more than just an actress, a dancer and a singer. In our recent conversation with the 38-year-old star, we learned all about her role as an Olay Body ambassador, her mission to take over the world and her goal to love herself even more this summer. 

On her new movie, In The Heights

In The Heights is based on the Broadway play created by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda. This movie is about a dream—it’s about celebration, it’s about a community, it’s about people that have been overlooked for so long, and evoking the sense of ‘you can do it too.’ We can all relate to the universal language of wanting to be something and being fearful of doing it, taking the risk, and launching yourself forward and getting it done.

I saw it yesterday on the big screen and the cries in the theater showed how much emotion and how much heart went into the making of this. I will forever be grateful for the whole process of filming because there was so much work and dedication put into it, and I have a totally different perspective now that I’m in a movie with so many different talents like choreographers, dancers, singers and actors. I have never before been part of a movie where I’m surrounded by people who could all be my family.”

On training for the film…

“I dance and I sing and I have rhythm, but it took a lot of work to train for this movie because I was dancing alongside professionals. The choreographers for the film have choreographed so many things and it challenged me, but I was up for it and I was fearless.”

On her partnership with Olay…

“When I think about being fearless, it comes full circle for me. Right when the opportunity to be an Olay Body ambassador presented itself, I was like ‘this is for me.’ Not only do I believe in the products and use them daily, the message that it’s sending out to us is uplifting and inspiring. I’m a huge fan of self-love and self-care and skin care is important to me—I grew up in a household where taking care of yourself is important. When I saw that they were launching Olay Exfoliating & Moisturizing Body Wash ($11), a new product that was exfoliating, hydrating and used natural ingredients such as sugar and cocoa butter, I was like ‘this is a must-have.’ Also, I can use this product every day. When I’m on the go, I need things that are one-and-done and gentle enough for sensitive skin. I layer this with my skin routine right after I use this and it just works for me.”

On the rest of her routine…

“After my bath or my shower, I hydrate with my cocoa butter, I put SPF on, and then I put on my clothes! This summer, I am going to go bare. Because my skin is so hydrated and looking right, I want to show more skin. Then, I put on my fragrance and I’m out the door. I think that, moving forward, I am going to embrace my body—I am going to talk nice to it, I am going to love it, and I am going to nurture it. This will help me stay fearless and take over the world.”

On her favorite body-care brands…

“I use a natural cocoa butter from this all-natural spa in The Bronx that they make themselves. I like to support local businesses—it’s important to support each other. If you follow me, you know that I am authentic; I want my audience to enjoy and consume the things I believe in.”

On on-set makeup tips and tricks…

“Wow, so many products. I could never be a makeup artist! I did learn one thing: Prepping your skin will totally give you such a different makeup look. The base is what really allows your makeup to look fantastic. I have had makeup artists that don’t prep the skin and I have had artists that go in and prep the skin and you would not believe how much that affects how you look.”

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