Taryn Manning of “Orange is the New Black” Talks Season 2, Character Transformations

Augusta Falletta

taryn manning orange is the new black

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, by now you’re probably obsessed with the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.” Following a group of women in prison, the show deals with each character’s reason for sentencing, their struggle to maintain relationships on the outside and the relationships that develop between prison mates. Taryn Manning, the actress who plays Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, may be known to fans as the “crazy girl” on the show, but when you sit down with the gorgeous actress while she’s not in character, it’s clear she’s got some serious chops.

Even though Taryn heads to set to get “uglied up” every day (her words), it doesn’t mean she can’t still have a little bit of fun with beauty while she’s not working. Wanting a bit of a hair makeover (or as much of a makeover as she could get while she’s still filming), hair colorist Beth Minardi gave Taryn a gorgeous multi-tonal brunette color, weaving in multiple shades of brown to create a gorgeous, full look. “It’s important to keep her hair in great condition,” Beth told us, so she used her ultra conditioning line of Beth Minardi Signature to keep Taryn’s hair in tip top shape despite the questionable measures her hair needs to go to on the show.

Once Taryn’s hair makeover was complete, we sat down with the actress and talked about how she transforms into Pennsatucky, what it’s like to not get her nails done for months and what Season 2 has in store for her character. Read on!

Beauty High: How long does it take you to transform into your character?

Taryn Manning: Like zero time because I get no makeup, ha. No, it takes me a minute mentally, just depending on what I’m doing for the day. Recently, there’s been some emotional stuff. It’s funny because as I’ve gotten older, I don’t know why but I don’t cry as much as when I was young. I used to cry at the drop of a dime, but I find that I save my tears now in like a well in my body and when I have to tap into that I say, “Alright, let’s bring them out.” There are all different techniques I have, it just depends on where my head is at for the day. With this particular character, I’ve really been practicing method acting. I mean I have to, she’s so radically different from me and she’s so intense that it’s been interesting because I definitely have found myself bringing her home sometimes or bringing the weight of some of the stuff that she’s saying or going through home. I know I’m doing good work but at times it’s…some of the things I have to do or say are a bit morally conflicting and I understand sort of what maybe some of the things that maybe Charlize [Theron] was going through with “Monster” or even Heath [Ledger] with “Batman.” But yeah, this character has been intense but it’s been so much fun too, like I think she is really funny at times, too, so it’s been good, it’s been a good mix.

MORE: “Orange is the New Black” Makeup Artist Talks Dark Circles and “Drab” Transformations

Your character actually scares me onscreen, but that’s when you know it’s good!

A lot of the girls say that their friends ask like, “Is that girl really crazy?” and they tell them that, “Taryn’s actually really shy and reserved” and their friends always say, “Yeah right, she has to be a nut.” Obviously I can tap into something, maybe its things I’ve seen in life or been through, but it’s [the character] totally different from me.

Obviously you don’t get makeup on the show, but do you kind of get to have a little but of fun when you’re not on set? As far as hair changes like today when you’re still filming.

I’m pretty dedicated. I don’t tweeze my brows, I don’t do my nails, like I had to do them today and they looked so bad, the lady was so disgusted. I was like, “Sorry, I’m on this show…” And she was just looking at me like, “I don’t care. That is just hideous.” Sometimes on the weekends, it’s like man…I wish…I’ve just been so dedicated that it’s just rolled over a little bit into my personal life. But yeah, I have fun. I try and have some fun with fashion and feel pretty and girly, so I don’t completely die into this role. But yeah, it’s interesting to go to set and get literally “uglied” out and not prettied up. Even in the past playing ugly roles, you still get some concealer, you know…a zit cover. Now, makeup doesn’t even come up to me, I have to be like, “Can I get Chapstick?” Like days when my lips are chapped, and they’re like, “We guess…”

MORE: Beauty Tips From “Orange is the New Black”

What do they do to get your hair the way it is on the show? 

It’s just grown out, no layers, just zero life and dull. Like someone who has been in prison for a long, long time who hasn’t had a haircut or a color. We put some powders on it to dull out any type of shine, just really rough it up. I put a hood on a lot, it’s sort of a choice that I made and I made that choice when I feel like my character is in a bad mood or she’s about to yell or freak out. The hood kind of goes up and it’s like, “Uh, oh.” It’s her mischievous side. I’m literally not wearing any makeup except for teeth crap to make my teeth look disgusting. It’s makeup. It dries and you feel the texture, it’s like you have a crazy tartar build up.

Can you tell us anything about Season 2?

All I can say for me is that I’m back. A lot of people didn’t know if I lived or died, so I’m back. After the very last scene people are definitely like, “Oh, I guess you live” since I’m filming and I don’t like even having to say, that but it came out on the web anyway, so it’s okay for people to know that. There’s so many of us, but that’s what’s up with me.

Courtesy Image Sara Jaye Weiss

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