Actress Tatiana Maslany landed numerous roles in Canadian television early in her career. She appeared on such shows as 2030 CE and Flashpoint. On the big screen, Maslany earned rave reviews for her work on the 2009 film Grown Up Movie Star. Her breakthrough role came with the debut of the popular sci-fi series Orphan Black in 2013. Maslany plays Sarah Manning and a group of her lookalike clones. In 2016, her critically acclaimed performance on the show earned her the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Early Life and Career
Born on September 22, 1985, actress Tatiana Maslany has risen to fame playing multiple characters on the hit science fiction series Orphan Black. She grew up in Regina, a town in Saskatchewan, Canada, with two younger brothers. Her father Dan is a cabinetmaker and her mother Renate is a translator. In an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, Maslany explained that she was drawn to performing at an early age. "I started as a dancer when I was about 4," she said.
Maslany eventually joined an improv group called the General Fools. During high school, she took breaks from school to work as a professional actor. As she explained to The New York Times, "being in high school was weirder to me than being on set. I'd go away for two months and shoot something and be totally at home, and then come back to school and be like, 'How do I talk to people?'"
Around the age of 20, Maslany moved to Toronto. She continued to devote herself to acting and began attracting notice. In 2009, Maslany won a Gemini Award for her guest spot on Flashpoint, a Canadian police drama. She picked up a special jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival for her starring role in Grown Up Movie Star (2009). On the small screen, Maslany starred as Mary in the TV miniseries The Nativity in 2010.
In 2013, Maslany took on her most famous role to date, playing numerous clones in Orphan Black. The series is one of television's most creative and complex programs with Maslany taking on more than 10 different characters. She first appears as Sarah Manning, a streetwise con artist, who witnesses her doppelganger commit suicide. Sarah assumes her lookalike's identity, and she eventually learns she is just one of many clones created as part of an experiment.
As the story of Orphan Black has unfolded, Maslany has not only had to play multiple characters, but to depict the interactions between these different figures. In addition to Sarah, Maslany plays fragile yet violent Helena, high-strung suburban mom Alison, brainy Cosima and ambitious Rachel among other clones. Getting these characters to appear together in scenes is a technical feat, but it's a credit to Maslany's abilities as an actress that they seem to be really engaging with each other. Many fans felt that she had been snubbed when she didn't receive an Emmy Award nomination for the show's first season. Fans were vindicated in 2015 when Maslany was named as one of the contenders for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series although she did not win the award.
While working on Orphan Black, Maslany also had a chance to branch out in other directions. She played a young version of Helen Mirren's character in the 2014 drama Woman in Gold. Maslany appeared in the 2016 independent film The Other Half, which co-starred her real-life love interest, Welsh actor Tom Cullen.
Maslany's critically acclaimed work on Orphan Black was nominated for another Emmy Award in 2016. On awards night, she won the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in her first Emmy win. Reading notes from her phone, which kept ringing with congratulations during her speech, she said: "Thank you so much, there are so many people I feel so indebted to," she said. "Thank you for this incredible dream job. My Tom, my family, thank you so much. I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center."
Her fans also made Maslany a winner on social media where she ranked number one on both Facebook and Twitter as the most posted about celebrity at the Emmys.
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