5 Minutes With Pint-Sized Powerhouse Taryn Manning

We chatted with the actress-DJ-singer—who was in the 6 to fête the H&M Eaton Centre re-opening party—about home decor, what's on her playlist and surprises from the sets of her most iconic film roles

Taryn Manning is a teeny tiny entertainment titan. You may know her from a little show called Orange is the New Black (psst: season 4 lands in your binge-watch queue in June) but on top of playing religious zealot Pennsatucky, she’s one half of the electronic dance duo Boomkat (with her brother!), an in-demand DJ and she’s acted in some of the biggest pop culture phenomenon films ever (Hustle & Flow, 8 Mile and yes, Crossroads #BritneyForever!). We grabbed a chat with the multi-talented multi-hyphenate before she jumped on the ones and twos to DJ the grand re-opening of Toronto’s H&M flagship store (complete with the H&M Home line). Herewith, 10 surprising, sweet and totally relatable things we learned from Taryn.


Taryn Manning at the H&M Yonge & Dundas re-opening party Feb. 24 in an H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection Dress (Photo: Sonia Recchia, George Pimentel Photography)

1. Her decor inspo comes from all over
“I wallpapered my kitchen, it’s super cute and kind of reminds me of Dr. Seuss. I’m more eclectic-comfy than modern and sleek, although I’ve recently really gotten into mid-century modern and am working that in. I also have a bit of gaudy taste, lots of gold and chandeliers. It’s almost like I was a 50-year-old queen in a past life or something.”

2.  Her mom’s her best friend (and she calls her after every gig)
“I’m such a mommy’s girl. She’s always like ‘Did you practice for this gig?'”

3. Britney has a killer singing voice IRL
“Just being around her at that time [of shooting Crossroads], our entire set was surrounded by fans. We could barely film! She was the biggest sweetheart on the planet. One night we went out, me, her and Zoe [Saldana] and just one bodyguard. She got dressed, did her own makeup and asked to borrow mascara, just like a normal girl. And she sang like an angel, like pitch perfect. For anybody that’s ever thought that she was manufactured: no.”

4. Her first love was dance (and she slayed at it, P.S.)
“Dance was my fundamental foundation, the gateway into the arts. I went to a performing arts high school with a full scholarship and I studied jazz and ballet. No one really knows that!”

5. But she doesn’t like to label herself as any one type of artist
“I’m a human and I always say: do everything that you want. I’m just a lover of life!”


(Photo: Elisabeth Caren)

6. She’s got Rihanna’s “Work” on repeat
“It’s so good, like it’s ridiculous.” [We have to agree.]

7. She got seriously into DJing as a way of owning her sound
“When Boomkat was signed to Dreamworks, we were an electronica group but because of budgets, they would always want to put us out on the road with guitars. It was like ‘This isn’t us.’ So [it was a way] to keep it self-contained and still push my sound. I was just trying to find a place where I could play the music, sing and be self-contained.”

8. The hardest part about playing Pennsatucky is her extremist views
“It’s been a lot of fun because I’ve been able to get away with radical things. I’ve enjoyed being unapologetic. But the other part of it is I’m not racist, I’m not anti-gay, I’m not a bible-thumping uneducated Christian, so it’s hard…What’s cool is that it’s a character, it’s not me.”

9. She’s obsessed with Making a Murderer [Stars, they really are just like us!]
“It’s pretty epic.”

10. In a Justin Bieber v. Drake smackdown, she’s Team Drizzy
Enough said.

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