From playing a road-tripping teen in the sing-along chick flick Crossroads to her role as devout Christian drug addict Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, one thing is clear: Onscreen, Taryn Manning’s got range. Offscreen too, as her talents extend to music, ballet and even karate.
OK! Magazine: What can we expect from Pennsatucky in season two?
Taryn Manning: All the characters go through massive changes. When you’re in prison, there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do. All you can do is change, for better or worse.
OK!: How long are you in hair and makeup on set?
TM: Fifteen minutes. The more disheveled I show up, the better. If I have a pimple, they don’t even cover it up. My rotten teeth are painted on and that’s about it. I tried to sneak mascara one time, and I got caught.
OK!: Do you like going “au naturel”?
TM: The worst pressure is being onscreen, playing the pretty girl and thinking you’re not pretty enough. So this role is great. It’s liberating.
OK!: How does the cast feel about wearing prison jumpsuits?
TM: The potato sacks are like the great equalizers… Nobody gets the better outfit or shoes.
OK!: How did you develop your eclectic style?
TM: It started when my mom would take me back-to-school shopping at second-hand stores. I would get one pair of new shoes. I would draw a little blue square on the back of my sneakers to make them look like Keds. It was heartbreaking then but now I love thrift stores.
OK!: Have you always loved acting?
TM: No. When I was 13, I hated it. My acting coach was so hard on me because he said he saw a big future for me. He used to make me cry!
OK!: Yet you decided to make it a career.
TM: I never decided that. I grew up as a ballet and jazz dancer. In my dance classes, the other girls were taking acting lessons, so I told my mom I wanted to as well. I’m competitive.
OK!: What’s your best quality?
TM: It’s my best and my worst: I’m loyal. I’m a ride-or-die friend.
OK!: How do you feel about your character—in her signature “arms up” pose—being on the cover of Nicki Minaj’s hit single “Yasss Bish”?
TM: I’m flattered. Pennsatucky’s “arms up” speaks to people. It’s like an amen.
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