Season six of Orange is the New Black premiered Friday with a change of location that introduced new characters, new relationships, and a telenovela’s worth of new drama. With the culmination of the riot in season five and its impending repercussions, many of Litchfield’s familiar faces are placed in the campus’ maximum security facility. It’s here where we meet Dominga Duarte aka Daddy, one of this season’s stand-out stars.
SPOILER ALERT: Plots points from season six are revealed below.
Portrayed by Vicci Martinez, Daddy is a drug-smuggling chingona with a steadfast following of strung-out blondes. New power dynamics in maximum security fall in Daddy’s favor, the dogmatic leader of the D-block gang. Daddy smooth-talks her way into getting what she wants with such swagger and bravado, it’s surprising to learn that this is Martinez’s first major acting role.
Before donning an orange jumpsuit, this Tacoma, Washington native was an established singer and songwriter whose once thriving music career had dramatically stalled. As a teen, Martinez had a successful appearance on Star Search and won a golden ticket to Hollywood on American Idol. Going against the grain, she declined the invitation for Idol, noting that the contract was too restrictive. Years later, she was a contestant on the inaugural season of The Voice in 2011. She was on Team CeeLo and impressed viewers and judges alike with her raspy blues-inspired rendition of Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep.” She came in third place and went on to release albums and a single called, “Come Along,” featuring her show mentor CeeLo Green.
However, by 2014 Martinez was back home in Tacoma, borrowing money from her mother – an ESL teacher from Juarez, Mexico – to make ends meet. Faced with the entertainment industry’s unpredictable nature, Martinez felt broken and uninspired. Struggles with alcohol addiction prompted her to take a break in 2016 to get sober and focus on her career. She put herself through rehab, started practicing meditation, and found some much needed clarity. Declaring in an Instagram post, “I’m back. 92 days sober. I may experiment, I may stray, but I will never forget where I came from.”
Today, Martinez is flourishing on and off screen. She is currently dating co-star Emily Tarver, who plays correctional officer Artesian McCullough on OITNB. Although an unlikely pair on set, in real life Martinez and Tarver have created a strong bond by writing music and performing together. She recently told The News Tribune, “We are super in love. And we have a music group together. I’ve started to do music again. She’s fulfilling my fantasy of doing duets together.”
Through all of her ups and downs, Martinez exudes confidence and self-assurance that is hard to ignore. The versatility she once displayed on The Voice is present again on OITNB. Although Daddy is a scheming troublemaker who is the catalyst for Daya’s impending drug addiction, Martinez effortlessly taps into Daddy’s empathetic side, which makes viewers almost root for Daddy and Daya’s budding – if not toxic – romance.
Martinez certainly has the singing and acting chops for a successful ride in Hollywood and we can’t wait to see what season seven brings for this newest Latina heartthrob.
Season six of Orange Is the New Black is currently streaming on Netflix.