ByManny Popoca, writer at
I'm funny, I'm cool, mainly I'm a geek at heart! Follow Twitter: @MannysPlace Web-Site:
Manny Popoca

Hello my fellow Orange is the New Black mega-fans!! I come back at you once again with another great exclusive MannysPlace interview!!

Back in March I was lucky enough to get an interview with superbly talented actress Taryn Manning at this years Wizard World Fan Fest Chicago Con 2015.

Taryn was raised mainly in Tucson, but went back to Virginia to visit with her father on occasion. She and her mother moved to San Diego when she was 12. From there it was up to Hollywood to start her budding career as an actress and singer. Her brother Kellin joined them in California a bit later. Taryn Manning is a series regular on "Orange Is the New Black" (2013). She is an American actress, fashion designer, singer-songwriter and the vocalist for electronic duo Boomkat.

Manny: Hello Taryn, great to meet you. First off I just want to say how huge of a fan my wife and I are of Orange is the New Black Netflix series. I knew it was going to be a smash hit even before it aired!

Taryn: "How did you know that?" (smiling with curiosity)

Manny: Oh I just have one of those internal barometers that give me a gut feeling when something is going to be hot or not.

Taryn: "Oh, cause people ask me that question all the time. 'Did you know when you were making it....?' and I'm like 'No i had no idea'. I've been working for a long time and I've read scripts and I'm like 'This is going to be the ONE,' it's not and I'm bummed. Then there are those ones that don't jump off the page but end up jumping off the screen. I did not know......but you knew"

Manny: Well I just had a good feeling about it.

Taryn: "You just have a good sense for that"

Manny: She (as I introduced my wife who is my assistant as well), was the one that started watching it first and dragged me into it. It was certainly on my hot radar and I was going to get around to seeing it. But she (my wife) pushed and pushed me and that's when I knew it was a must watch series.

Taryn: "That's hilarious"

Manny: Oh my God....we just LOVE the show!

Taryn: "The new season is coming out June 12 we just found out" (remember this interview was back in March)

Manny: So you guys find out just the same time we found out?

Taryn: "Yeah....yes....they are very secretive"

Manny: Just how different is it working on OITNB compared to "Son's of Anarchy"?

Taryn: Well.....there is this. On their set (SoA) it is a totally almost an all male set and if you're a female it just like "eh". But on our set (OITNB) it's literally all female set so it's like the energy is all's so different. You know, the cool thing about "Son's" when I would pull into work all the motorcycles (cause they ALL had motorcycles) were all lined up. They were all so genuinely into riding I was like 'YES! BADASS!!' it was so very cool! You know in New York we don't drive and we film in NY so it's funny"
Taryn: "You know what's funny is on that show (OITNB) we come in with our clothes on and people look at how you dress, but we have to get in prison garb to be in costume so I call it 'the great equalizer' because everyone looks the same. So we come in with a cute dress but it's fun to see each other come and go" (laughing)

Manny: So do you ladies (actors) get any input opportunity on the story when it comes to OITNB?

Taryn: "No"

Manny: No....not all huh?

Taryn: (shakes her head no)

Manny: I can tell you have an accent right now in person, where are you from originally?

Taryn: "I was born in Virginia and I was raised in Arizona. But I've played so many Southern roles I think I'm just mixed up now (laughing) I don't know who I am or what time" (laughing). It's just a draw......actually I have 80% hearing loss."

Manny: Oh wow....I did not know that.

Taryn: "Yeah, I used to have a really really bad speech impediment. To the point that casting directors would tell my managers 'There is something about her.....she's great but she can't talk'. That used to just crush me. So I worked really hard just to get where I am. You guys know James Earl Jones?"

Manny: Oh yes! 'LUKE.....I AM YOUR FATHER'

Taryn: "So my Mom is real good friends with his wife from high school. He couldn't talk at all! he worked and worked at he's the voice of CNN!"

Manny: Thee voice of CNN and Vader, who would have thought that?

Taryn: "Yeah! So if you go and watch youtube videos of me 10 years ago you can hear it. But it used to be so bad"

Manny: You say you've been working in the industry for a long time

Taryn: "Sixteen year. Well that is making money at it though. I've been training for way longer than that"

Manny: Sixteen year.....damn! So what other roles have you done that you think I, as a pop culture expert, would remember you from?

Taryn: "Um.....maybe like "Hustle and Flow".........I was "Nola".......the braids..."

Manny: Wait a minute.......HOLY SHIT!! That was YOU?!

(I had to give her a fist-bump here!!)

Manny: You did such a phenomenal job in that role!! I don't know how I didn't piece you in it all this time!! That was such a great job!

Taryn: "Yeah, that was a lot of fun. That one changed my life."

Manny: I can see how it did.

Taryn: "That was the first time I got to feel like a character artist."

Manny: That's so awesome! What makes a good actor to me is when you can lose the actors looks and just get lost in a great performance. It's rare for me to see that.

Manny: While playing 'Pennsatucky' on OITNB how did you feel about her not being all glamoured up?

Taryn: "It was great, I love it" (Huge smile on her face)

Manny: Love it huh? Down and dirty

Taryn: "Down and dirty......I'm at work going, 'How do I look?'..............'Terrible!'...................'Great!' (gives thumbs up) seriously it was like that"

Manny: Awesome! So are there any other projects you are working on other than OITNB?

Taryn: "I just gone done with this one project that was like super intense. We wrapped Orange on November 25th and on November 26th I started on this Lifetime movie about the women who were held captive In Ohio."

Manny: Yes, the one where the girl escaped and called the police to help rescue the other two girls trapped in a house by that one guy.

Taryn: "I play Michelle Knight. It's called "Cleveland Abduction" and comes out April 29th. It's really intense and very sad."

Manny: I do know of Michelle Knight and her fight throughout all this. She was the one who they said had mental issue and also gave birth to a child from the person keeping her captive.

Taryn: "Yeah it's mainly a story on how they had to survive all that time being captive and how they had to endure for a decade. They never got to go out and it's just so real and's a tear-jerker"

Manny: I know I will have to see it!

Manny: Well thank you so much for this interview Taryn.

Taryn: "You're welcome"

Taryn started dancing when she was 12, trained in Kickboxing and does Tae Bo. She's also a champion dancer, rollerskater, and has a 3rd degree green belt in karate. Was once the Arizona state karate champion. Made a guest appearance on the critically acclaimed TV-series Boston Public (2000) in a role that was specifically written for her. Ranked #60 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.

She has worked on the CBS series Hawaii Five-0 (2010) and the FX series Sons of Anarchy (2008). Her feature credits include Love Ranch (2010), Cold Mountain (2003), 8 Mile (2002), A Lot Like Love (2005), White Oleander (2002) and Crossroads (2002) She got her first major role in 2001 as "Maddy" in Crazy/Beautiful (2001). Her breakthrough role was "Nola", a prostitute in Memphis, Tennessee, in Hustle & Flow (2005). Now is a series regular on Netflix original series Orange is the New Black (2013)


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