She left Orange is the New Black fans clutching their crucifixes at the end of Season One, but this pint-sized powerhouse’s real strength lies in her ability to encapsulate every role she encounters.
Remember when Britney Spears took a stab at acting in 2002? Chances are film executives didn’t predict either of her Crossroads co-stars climbing to the A-list years later. While Zoe Saldana continues to make bank in Hollywood blockbusters, Taryn Manning has built one of the most colorful, daring and unpredictable resumes in the entertainment industry. Anchored by a knack for the unconventional and commitment to every character she portrays, the West Coast native has always used her universal appeal to her advantage. Whether it be a micro-braided prostitute (Hustle and Flow), rapper’s ex-girlfriend (8 Mile) or free-spirited romantic (Jack and Jill vs. the World), Manning’s past roles practically honed her for a scary good turn as Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett on Orange is the New Black.
Bible-totin’, God-fearing and downright frightening, there is nothing nice about this inmate, including her teeth. Alongside her fellow cross-bearing allies, Pennsatucky’s demeanor frequently straddles the line between humorous and offensive, a testament to both the Orange writers and Manning’s nearly flawless execution. While many of the OITNB stars’ roles are clearly defined, Taryn has the fortune of experimenting with a woman whose backstory is as erratic as her daily encounters with Taylor Schilling’s Piper Chapman.
Naturally, we assume actors that take on “odd” roles are just that behind-the-scenes. With moccasins on her feet, heels in hand and larger-than-life shades masking her face, normalcy is the first thing that comes to mind when Taryn casually arrives for our interview. Cool as a menthol, she lights up gushing about her love for animals, fashion and even Buddhist chanting. A self-proclaimed “girly girl” and family fanatic, Manning is probably one of the most misread actresses in Hollywood. Amongst her OITNB co-stars weeks later she’s soft-spoken, ethereal—the first to hand out hugs.
You think you know, but you have no idea. Prepare to fall in love with the real Taryn.