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Dascha Polanco Talks ‘Bittersweet’ Farewell to ‘Orange Is the New Black’: ‘This Is a Family’ (Exclusive)

Dascha Polanco Farewell Orange Is the New Black
Dascha Polanco in the “Join the Cast” room at Madame Tussauds New York Presents Broadway on June 4, 2019 in New York City. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

The end of an era. Orange Is the New Black star Dascha Polanco confessed exclusively to Us Weekly that she has mixed feelings about filming the finale of her long-running hit Netflix show.

Related: Before They Were on 'Orange Is the New Black'

“After seven years, I think this is a family,” she told Us while attending a Madame Tussauds New York Launches The Ultimate Broadway Experience event in N.Y.C. earlier this month. “It’s bittersweet.”

Related: 'Orange Is the New Black's Most Intense Moments

Polanco, 36, who plays inmate Dayanara “Daya” Diaz, also described the collective mood on set during the cast’s final moments of filming. “Crying, laughing and just a moment of, like, self-realization that you realize time flies and we have to live more in the moment,” she shared. “There was a lot of food. Eating away your feelings.”

For the Gimme Shelter star, it’s the beginning of a leap into the unknown. “There’s moments of ‘OK, now my career’s in the next step,’ and then there’s moments of like, ‘Oh my God!’” she said, adding, “You know, having the security.”

Related: TV Shows Gone Too Soon

The Russian Doll alum is up to the challenge of finding her next big role, however. “I’ve been auditioning. I’m out there and it’s the hustle,” she shared. “That’s the hustle of this game. You just never know what’s next!”

Dascha Polanco Farewell Orange Is the New Black
Dascha Polanco as Dayanara “Daya” Diaz on ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Polanco’s castmate and show lead Taylor Schilling, told Us in April that it was “very weird” filming the final scene. “Seven years is a long time and it wasn’t an inconsequential seven years,” she said at the time. “It was a very formative seven years for my existence as a human,” the Emmy nominee said. “So it was very poignant and it’s time. It feels like the right time for us to go off and tell other stories, but it had a lot of impact!”

The seventh and final series of Orange Is the New Black is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on July 26.

With reporting by Diana Cooper

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