Dascha Polanco on How Cuca Is More Than a Hairdresser
Getting into character to play Cuca was rewarding for Polanco because she got to pull inspiration from so many influential women in her life, from her aunt to her own hairdressers. "These are iconic figures," Polanco said. "These are matriarchs that helped raise us. It was the first time that I could say, 'You know what? I can actually draw some inspiration from my tia and have fun with it and just celebrate her; be joyous with it.'"
On paper, Cuca may be a hairstylist, but she's so much more than that to her community, as many beauty experts are. "These are not just beauticians — these are women that own their own businesses, small-business owners that come here with a dream to succeed and they're able to, by beautifying everybody else and being the therapist of the community," she said. "It's very intimate when you speak about hair care and skin care."
Ensuring that Cuca wasn't just viewed as a "salon lady" was important. "They play a vital role in your upbringing as a woman," Polanco said. "This is where I got the love for taking care of myself and nourishing my skin; taking care of my hair and being OK with it. For me, playing Cuca, I had to show that her confidence, which she exuded, was in the community."