Taryn Manning dancing to her own tune
Actress/singer featured on Netflix hit Orange is the New Black also working on new solo album
September 10th 2013
By Nicholas M. Pescod
File From: North Shore News/Vancouver Sun
Taryn Manning (as Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett) added as regular on second season of Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.
She was sitting on board an airplane bound for New York City when fear began to set in for actress and singer Taryn Manning.
“I was so scared I was paralyzed,” she says.
Manning had learned that her JetBlue Airways Flight 292 from Burbank, CA, was going to have to make an emergency landing after the aircraft’s nose wheels had jammed.
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that was the way I was going to die,” she says. Before the Airbus A320-232 that Manning was on could land it had to circle between Bob Hope Airport and Los Angeles International Airport for three hours in order to burn fuel, decreasing the chance of a fire upon impact. “It was terrifying; I don’t really know what else to say. I’ll never be able to articulate to anybody when they ask what the feeling inside me was like,” Manning says. “If you ever felt like you were truly going to die and that feeling, that’s what I felt.”
Finally after hours of circling around southern California, the JetBlue Airways flight began its descent on Los Angeles International.
“I just felt so sad for my mom,” she says.
Despite tense moments inside the aircraft, the JetBlue flight landed safely without any passengers getting hurt.
“It was just utter happiness and tears of joy. Everybody erupted,” Manning says. “I can’t explain the joy, the happiness of knowing that we’re OK and alive.”
The incident, which happened back in 2005, shook the core of the Arizona native.
“I do feel that my life changed after it. Different things got put into perspective because of it,” she says. “I really wouldn’t take it back for the world because it taught me a lot about myself.”
Eight years later Manning is hard at work with the recent release of her latest single titled, “Summer Ashes.”
“It is a summertime love song,” Manning says. “Progressive house with a pop twist. It is very danceoriented. I’m pretty excited and proud of it.”
Over the last couple of years, Manning has been working on a new full-length album, which she plans to release sometime next year.
“I’m super-excited about it. I’ve been working on it for a long time,” Manning says. “I’ve been trying to land on my sound. What sound do I feel most connected to right now? When it comes out it will be worth it because it has been quite a journey to get a finished product.”
Growing up Manning says music was always around her. Beginning at a young age, she often went to the local roller disco in Tucson, AZ.
“I went to the roller rink every single day and they were always playing music there,” she says. “From first grade until about sixth grade my mom would drop me off.”
“I think a lot of influences came from there for sure,” she adds.
At the age of 16, Manning, along with her brother Kellin formed a band called Boomkat. The siblings released their first album, Boomkatalog.One to DreamWorks Records in 2003. Their single “The Wreckoning” hit number one on Billboard’s dance charts.
“We did pretty well during that time,” Manning says. “We were signed to DreamWorks and we had music on the 8 Mile soundtrack.”
Four songs from Boomkatalog.One were featured in movies, including 8 Mile, The Italian Job, Mean Girls and Crossroads. Boomkat released another album in 2008 titled, A Million Trillion Stars, to Little Vanilla Records.
“We did really, really well,” Manning says.
The song “Not My Fault” was featured in the 2007 film Weirdsville. Manning also appeared in the film, which was shot in Brantford and Hamilton, Ont., as well as Northern Ontario.
Manning started going to acting class when she was 16 in Burbank, CA. Her fellow classmates included Kirsten Dunst, Rachel Wood and Leelee Sobieski.
“My mom would drive me up from San Diego to Burbank and take me to an acting class, which I proceeded to do for about three years. I never missed a class. That’s where I really felt I belonged,” she says.
By the time Manning was 19 years old she had moved out to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor.
“The dancing in Hollywood turned me off. I can’t really explain why but it just doesn’t sit well with me,” Manning says. “Dancing is this beautiful outlet to express yourself and I felt like after Hollywood I became stifled by all the cliques and the competitiveness and not supportive nature of it.”
She then turned her attention to acting and music. She appeared in a few music videos including Nickelback’s video for their song “Rockstar.”
“I didn’t have any easy way in. I started from the ground up and continued,” Manning says. “I didn’t know anybody or have any connections in. I just had a brain, some street smarts – and a drive like you wouldn’t believe, perseverance and tough skin.”
Since 1999, Manning has appeared in more than 20 films including 8 Mile, Hustle and Flow, Crossroads, Zombie Apocalypse and White Oleander.
Currently, Manning plays a drug addicted prisoner on Orange is the New Black, which airs on Netflix.
She also plays Mary Ann McGarrett on CBS’ hit show Hawaii Five-0. “That’s a whole experience in itself because I get to go to Hawaii and I love Hawaii. I love the culture. I really enjoy being on that show,” she says. “I am really happy for them that it was a hit.
Sometimes when they redo old TV shows, it is hit or miss. So, I’m very pleased for everybody involved.”
In 2010, Manning starred in a feature film titled Heaven’s Rain. The film is based on the true story about a brutal double murder that occurred in Oklahoma 34 years ago.
“That was really intense.
That was definitely a unique experience,” Manning says. “It was a very surreal, odd and very tragic story that definitely affected me at the time.”
In 1979, Glen Ake and Steven Hatch entered the home of the Douglass family, which consisted of Richard and his wife Marilyn, along with their two children Brooks and Leslie, and proceeded to tie up and shoot them. Brooks, 16 years old at the time and Leslie were the only survivors.
“The level of strength that Leslie displayed in the whole situation going through what she went through and being a survivor during the crime was amazing,” Manning says.
Eventually, Brooks Douglass decided to create Heaven’s Rain, which documents the horrific crime and focuses on forgiveness. Manning plays the role of Leslie and says it was one of the most challenging roles of her career.
“I felt terrible doing it. That this really happened. It was really morally conflicting in my heart,” Manning explains. “I met with her (Leslie Douglass) a couple times to discuss it. It was very very challenging for me. Make this person relive something for my sake as an actress was very conflicting for me.”
“She agreed to have the film made and I had to get her to trust me and trust I would do my best to portray the role and also be respectful. If ever there was something that I was doing that didn’t feel right I was very open,” Manning adds.
Manning says that shooting the scene of the murder was extremely emotional for the entire cast.
“It was challenging and heart wrenching,” Manning says. “On the day that we were going to be shooting the scene of the crime Brooks spoke to the whole crew and told the story and it was very emotional. It was nothing like I had ever experienced. I don’t know how else to put it.”
For more information on Taryn Manning visittarynmanning.com or follow her on Twitter: @TarynManning