Dascha Polanco Brings Her Grit To The PowHERful Summit: “You Are Your Own Star”

Viva

Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist and executive producer, hosted her 4th Annual PowHERful Summit, an action packed day of empowerment for high school students. The summit is part of the Starfish Foundation, a foundations set to provide young women in unprivileged communities the resources they need to succeed. Focusing on educational, professional and personal development, the summit sparks inspiration in the minds and hearts of young female students throughout New York City.  This year O’Brien was joined together with key speaker, Dominican actress Dascha Polanco.

READ; Dascha Polanco: “If I’m Not American Or Latina Enough, Then What Am I?”

Inspiring even her own peers with her “Here’s How: True Grit” speech, Polanco talked about her struggles attending college as a young Latina mother while trying to provide for her family.

Grit indeed. Polanco went on to describe what her experience was like trying to balance school and work as a young mother, including taking her daughter with her to her night shifts in order to make ends meat. However, her story is one of triumph, successfully graduating from Hunter’s college with a bachelors degree in Psychology.

READ; Interview: Soledad O’Brien Sprinkles Black Girl Magic & Love With The Starfish Foundation

Looking into a crowd of about 300 young women, she held nothing back when speaking of her struggles with her body image and what it was like being body shamed by her very own family and “friends.”

“All of my struggles have made me who I am and have proven to me that focus, drive and ambition can get you anywhere in life,” she shared. “You are your only competition. Forget those you see on Instagram, Facebook an Snapchat – you are your own star.” And a star is what she is. Today, Polanco is the shining star of Netflix’s biggest hit show Orange is the New Black (OITNB) and the romantic comedy film, The Perfect Match.

READ; ‘OITNB’s Laura Gómez Wants To Fight For Gay Rights In Latin America

Young powHERful girls were so inspired by Polanco’s speech, that they took to Twitter to thank the actress for her words.

For upcoming PowHERful summits click here.