“Orange Is The New Black” star Dascha Polanco is opening up about dealing with size discrimination in Hollywood. Like Leslie Jones before her, the curvy Afro-Latina learned many designers don’t cater to her figure.
The actress told Vogue her friends gave her a dose of realness when it came to the industry’s desire to dress the rich and famous – it comes with stipulations.
“It’s funny that a lot of the brands are dressing people who are not offering anything as far as talent, they’re just out there,” she said. “I understand that it’s business, but still, it’s like, really? My industry friends, who are clear and honest with me say, ‘Girl, they don’t have your size, and you’re not at that level yet, so you have to either move that way or just build those relationships so that later in the future maybe it happens.’ ”
But even though Polanco is still considered an up-and-coming star, being at a bigger level did not help Jones, of “Saturday Night Live” fame. The comedian needed a dress to wear for her “Ghostbusters” movie premiere last month, and no designer wanted to help her until she sent this tweet.
It's so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 28, 2016
Designer Christian Siriano stepped up to the plate and Jones was able to grace the green carpet for her July 9 movie debut in style.
But Polanco was in for a rude awakening when she wanted to wear the duds of one of her favorite unnamed brands.
“I had a situation with a high-end brand the other day where I had personally invested so much money purchasing their items, and I love what they do, so I had my publicist reach out to their PR team,” she explained. “Their response was, ‘Oh, you’re not the sizes we have, not right now, maybe in the future.’ ”
That answer sealed the company’s fate with the actress, who told her Instagram followers her size ranges from 8 to 14.
“Now even if they want me to [wear their designs] down the road, I will not give them the pleasure,” she told the fashion magazine. “It’s disappointing, but I try to work with up-and-coming designers who will make things for me and who will collaborate with me. People who love my curves and embrace them as much as I do.”
The decline has lit a fire in Polanco, and she said she wants to “break that barrier,” adding that she can “still can look as great as someone who’s a size 0.”
Part of that plan is a new fashion line. Polanco has been meeting with industry personnel to come up with ideas.
“I want to design something that’s between plus and between sample sizes – a brand that eventually would market to everyone, to all women, period.”