Taryn Manning

Taryn Manning Biography

Film Actress, Songwriter, Television Actress, Singer (1978–)
Taryn Manning is a singer/songwriter and TV/film actress known for her roles in ‘8 Mile,’ ‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ among an array of other projects.


Born on November 6, 1978 in Falls Church, Virginia, Taryn Manning went on to establish a career as a singer/songwriter and actress, appearing in such film projects as Crossroads, White Oleander, 8 Mile and Hustle & Flow. Having made many TV appearances over the years as well, Manning eventually landed the role of meth head Pennsatucky in the acclaimed Netflix dramedy Orange Is the New Black. Manning has also forged a musical career both as part of the duo Boomkat with her brother and as a solo artist.

Background and Early Career

Taryn Manning was born on November 6, 1978 in Falls Church, Virginia. Her parents divorced when she was an infant, and she moved with her mother Sharyn and brother Kellin to Tucson, Arizona, before relocating to California some time later. Manning developed a passion for martial arts, winning an Arizona state championship competition, along with a family-bound love for dance and music. Her mother and great-grandmother were dancers while her father Bill was a drummer. Manning’s father, who was a heavy drinker, committed suicide when she was in her early teens.

Manning eventually opted to pursue acting and by the early 2000s had made appearances on a variety of TV shows, including The Practice, NYPD Blue, Boston Public and Get Real, on which she had a recurring role as Rebecca Peabody.

Films and Music

Movies became part of Manning’s resume as well. After a noted part in 2001’s Crazy/Beautiful, with Kirsten Dunst, 2002 saw her featured in three major projects. Manning co-starred with Britney Spears and Zoe Saldana in the road trip/coming-of-age drama Crossroads. She was next seen in White Oleander, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Alison Lohman, before appearing as the ex-girlfriend of Eminem’s character Jimmy in 8 Mile.

For the 8 Mile soundtrack, her cool, plaintive vocals were also heard on the song “Wastin’ My Time” under the moniker Boomkat, a pop act that the actress formed with brother Kellin. The duo released the 2003 album Boomkatalog One. Years later, she would release the single “Send Me Your Love,” which would enter the Top 30 of Billboard’s dance charts.

More movie roles followed for Manning. Among a variety of projects, she appeared as a sex worker alongside Taraji Henson and Terrence Howard in the pimp film Hustle & Flow (2005) and as a young woman new to the Big Apple in Jack and Jill vs. the World (2008), with Freddie Prinze Jr. In 2011, she also graced the cover of Playboy magazine's sex and music issue.

'Orange Is the New Black'

After starring in a recurring role on Hawaii Five-O, Manning hit it big with her next TV series, playing Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett in the popular Netflix dramedy Orange Is the New Black, which debuted in 2013 and portrays life in a women’s prison. The character—a narrow-minded meth head with rotted teeth who relies upon the religious right for support—becomes the foe of Piper (Taylor Schilling), the Wasp-y accessory to a drug-running operation. Pennsatucky’s idiosyncratic mannerisms, highly warped views and alienated perspective have been profiled in several storylines, allowing room for the character to develop.

Other Projects

Manning has continued to add controversial subject matter to her acting roster, playing Michelle Knight, one of the women abducted by Ariel Castro, in the Lifetime TV movie Cleveland Abduction. The actress says that she and Knight, whom she sees as a beautiful spirit, have become friends. Manning has maintained her music career as well, working as a DJ and creating songs for the EP Freedom City

Legal Issues

In 2012 Manning made headlines when she had an altercation with her personal assistant (the fight resulted in charges leveled at Manning which were ultimately dismissed). Two years later, she was arrested after making criminal threats to a former friend, whom she said was allegedly stalking her. 

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