When we arrived at Taryn Manning's apartment on the morning of our interview, she was still in the shower. But, we weren't complaining. She was, after all, just waking up after a long day of shooting the highly addictive Netflix show Orange Is The New Black. Plus, if we're being honest, waiting for her to appear (in bright sweatpants and wet hair) felt more like hanging out and getting ready for a night out with a friend than watching a celeb in hair and makeup.
Manning's just easy and down to earth like that. She's friendly, but not fake, and you immediately warm up to her upon meeting her. (Note: There were no air kisses involved in the making of this photo shoot.) Perhaps, this is due to the fact that Manning is at ease, having been part of that fast-paced Hollywood scene in one way or another for quite some time. Though you'd never know it from her chilled-out demeanor, she's been on the dancing, singing, and acting grind for over ten years in movies like Crossroads (yes, with Britney Spears) and 8 Mile (yes, with Eminem), and, most recently, television shows like Hawaii Five-0 and, of course, OITNB.
If you have yet to watch the show, which also stars Taylor Schilling and Jason Biggs (!!), you should block off a few days and binge watch it. Manning may be humble in person, but her humor and confidence on-screen will hook you immediately. It's her role as Pennsatucky, the cross-slinging, slick-mouthed, recovering meth addict that may solidify Manning as a modern-day version of America's sweetheart. Let us clarify here: We're not suggesting that an incarcerated junkie is the new rom-com queen, but Manning's hard work and good attitude — and collaboration with an online media platform (ahem, R29) — helps to cement our high opinion of her.
Hanging out with Manning, we talked about the lessons she's learned from the biz during her twenties and thirties (read: who to trust), what it's like to be her own "type" in an industry that is so type-focused, and of course, that time Britney Spears' body guard tackled her on the red carpet. So, with candidness, heart, and ease like this, if she's not the next America's sweetheart-that-could, she might just become our new BFF.
Click through for an intimate photo shoot and interview with Taryn Manning.
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson