photo: Corbis

If there's one movie every woman should check out this holiday season, it's Joy, inspired by the life of millionaire inventor of the Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano, starring Jennifer Lawrence. The film, which also stars Édgar Ramírez, Bradley Copper, Robert De Niro, and Orange Is the New Black actress Dasha Polanco, is truly empowering and a lesson to always follow your dreams. But there's something else we definitely took away from this movie and it's the importance of female friendships. 

We caught up with Polanco, who plays Jackie, Joy's loyal and childhood friend, about friendships, working with Jennifer Lawrence, and why it's important for women to support other women. 

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The film tells the story of a divorced single mother of two who eventually builds her own business empire after creating the Miracle Mop. But the road to success wasn't easy. Joy's struggle was real. Thankfully, she had the constant support from her ex-husband Tony, played by Ramírez, and her bestie, portrayed by Polanco.

The friendship between these two women wasn't just special — it gave Joy the confidence she needed to keep at her goal.

"When you grow up with someone who is there for you through all your development stages, you establish a family bond," says Polanco. "For Joy, it was important to have someone who served like an anchor, hold her down, and give her that support. That's who Jackie was for her."

Even when times got tough, Jackie stayed by Joy supporting her throughout the entire process. She was her support system through the good and the bad and eventually became a part of Joy's business empire.

photo: Courtesy of Dasha Polanco

"Everybody would talk negatively about the mop and give all these opinions about what they felt Joy needed to do," says Polanco. "But Jackie always made it clear that no matter what decisions Joy made, she was going to be there. She was going to have her back regardless."

After watching the intimacy between these two powerful characters, we couldn't help but wonder how Polanco and Lawrence bonded on set. And, to no surprise, the Dominicana had nothing but great things to say about her Joy BFF.

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"First of all, she's hilarious," Polanco says. "It was amazing working alongside Jennifer Lawrence, and I would definitely do it again and again. She's such a professional. She taught me the importance of staying true to the character and worked hard to play this role to its fullest and most authentic capacity. And then to be able to laugh alongside her, why not, you know?"

Like Jackie was to Joy, Polanco strongly believes in the importance of female friendships and women supporting other women. She thinks it's especially significant today with all the superficiality, bashing, and shaming that goes on.

"Society has manipulated women into judging one another, competing with one another and putting one another down instead of just accepting each other," she says. "We need to support each other, especially when it comes to important issues like gender inequality. If we're not on each other's team, there won't be any progress or elevation." 

Strangely enough, Polanco doesn't have many close female friends of her own, aside from her sister, who she considers her bestie.

"You know what's funny? I'm all for female friendships, but most of my close friends have coincidentally been males. I don't have a Jackie yet, I have a Jack."

Regardless, she still thinks it's crucial to be there for one another in order to grow and become the women we are meant to be.

"There are just certain things you can only communicate and express with women. I have a daughter, and though I'm her mother, I'm also her friend," says Polanco. "It's important we establish these kinds of relationships so we build confidence in one another."