Manning is the vocalist for the electronic duo Boomkat, and is also a co-owner of the clothing brand Born Uniqorn.
Taryn Manning was born in Falls Church, Virginia, the daughter of Bill Manning, a musician, and his wife, Sharyn Louise (White). Manning's parents divorced when she was two months old, and her brother, Kellin, and she were raised by their mother in Tucson, Arizona. Manning grew up living in a trailer park with her brother and single mother, who supported the family on a strict income. "My mom didn't buy herself a new pair of shoes and a new outfit until I moved out," said Manning. "Literally when I asked my mom for a dollar I got one single dollar."
In spite of the family's money trouble, her mother was able to enroll Manning in karate, dance, and acting classes. At the age of 12, her family relocated to San Diego, California. Two years later, when Manning was 14, her father committed suicide. As a teenager, she worked as a waitress and a barista to help support her family.
Manning began acting in the late 1990s, appearing in small roles in several film and television productions, including episodes of The Practice, Get Real, Speedway Junky, NYPD Blue and Popular. She also made a guest-appearance on the TV series Boston Public, in a role that was specifically written for her. In 1999, she was featured in an independent film called Speedway Junky. She also auditioned for the American version of Popstars, which aired in early 2001 on The WB.
She made her film debut with a part in the romantic drama Crazy/Beautiful, which was followed by a role in the 2002 feature film Crossroads, where she played one of two best friends of singer Britney Spears. She appeared in 8 Mile as B-Rabbit's ex-girlfriend, Janeane, and in Peter Kosminksy's White Oleander. Along with supporting roles in the films Lucky 13 and Debating Robert Lee, Manning appeared briefly in Anthony Minghella's Civil War melodrama Cold Mountain (2003) and in the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love (2005).
E! Online picked her for its "Sizzlin' 16" list of 2002. She has appeared on the covers of the July 2003 issue of FHM, the May 2007 issue of Stuff and was the December 2007 entry in Stuff magazine's 2006-2007 pin up calendar. She was ranked #33 in Stuff magazine's 103 Sexiest Women in 2003, #59 in Maxim`s Hot 100 Women 2003 and #60 in 2008.
Her breakthrough role was as Nola, a prostitute in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 2005 film Hustle & Flow. Manning was nominated in the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association Awards for Best Breakthrough Performance. Director Craig Brewer saw Manning's picture in a photography book and was convinced that the actress who played Nola should look just like her. "There are some people who put on trashy like a wardrobe, and Taryn can play those roles with dignity and earnestness," Brewer said of Manning. In a "making of" featurette on the Hustle & Flow DVD, "Behind the Hustle", Brewer talks about how surprised and delighted he was to later realize that the model who had originally inspired his image of Nola's look turned out to also be the actress playing her.
Her other subsequent film roles included roles in Unbeatable Harold and When the Nines Roll Over. When the Nines Roll Over is a drama film centred around a jaded hipster A&R executive tries to steal a talented and sexy young singer away from a small label. Her next film was Weirdsville, a dark comedy co-starring Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley. Boomkat's song "It's Not My Fault" appeared on the soundtrack for the film as a duet by Manning and John Rowley. In 2007, she played Ivy Chitty on the short-lived Fox television series Drive, which was a drama about various people competing in an illegal cross-country road race. In After Sex, seven short films within one, Manning played the supporting role of Alanna. She had leading roles in the horror films Cult and Banshee; in the latter, she performed her own stunts. "I got hurt one day during one of the chase scenes, where another car crashed into my car," Manning explained of her stunts.
Manning appeared in the romantic comedy Jack and Jill vs. the World. She played Rita Cherry on four episodes of Sons of Anarchy; co-star Katey Sagal called her performance fantastic. At first she made a guest appearance on the show and later rejoined, because her performance was so well received. Later in 2008 she appeared as the female lead in Butch Walker's music video for "The Weight Of Her" and in will.i.am's collage-style music video, "Yes We Can". She co-starred with Bill Pullman in the surreal drama film Your Name Here, in which she played Nikki, who is based on Victoria Principal. The film is based loosely on sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick's life.
She admires her friend Gina Gershon's musical appearances. In 2009, she appeared as Rose Atropos in a dramatic music-themed film The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll. The film received mostly favorable reviews from critics and fans. Manning joined forces with Ron Perlman in two 2009 films, The Devil's Tomb and The Job. She also appeared in a horror film Kill Theory, which tells the story of a group of college students, who find themselves targeted by a sadistic killer. Drama film The Job premiered at the San Diego Film Festival on September 25, 2009. Critics called the film "entertaining and fun with twists that arrives like clockwork".
In 2009, Taryn portrayed Caroline Bishop, the love interest to Kris Black's coal miner turned boxer in Five Good Years. In February 2010, she was cast in the 2010 remake of Hawaii Five-0 as the younger sister of main character Steve McGarrett.
In early 2012, Taryn signed on to star in the supernatural web series The Unknown, which premiered on Crackle on July 13, 2012. In 2013, she began playing Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett in the original Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
In 2003, Manning and her brother Kellin formed the band Boomkat. The band first signed a major label deal with American Idol producer Randy Jackson, but the deal fell through. Robbie Robertson then signed them to DreamWorks Records, which was Boomkat's label from 2002 to 2004. In 2002, she sang a rendition of "I'll Take You There" with Tweet in several Gap commercials directed by Peter Lindbergh. Their debut album, Boomkatalog.One, was released on March 18, 2003. Boomkat released two singles "The Wreckoning" and "What U Do 2 Me". The first single, "The Wreckoning", hit No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The band closed out 2003 as the No. 5 Hot Dance Club Play Artist for the year in Billboard Magazine. Music from Boomkatalog.One has also appeared in movies, including Mean Girls, Crossroads, The Hot Chick, 8 Mile and The Italian Job.
After a hiatus, in an interview in October 2005's issue of Nylon magazine, Manning mentioned that Boomkat would be back eventually, and that she is writing songs for the new album once they find another record label. Boomkat released their first single in four years, called "Runaway" on April 8, 2008. In early June 2008 Boomkat's second album A Million Trillion Stars became available in online stores.
In October 2008, Boomkat played several shows throughout the Los Angeles area, hitting spots like North Hollywood's NOHO Scene Festival and venues such as the Viper Room and Hotel Cafe. In December 2008 Manning recorded a version of Tom Petty's "Christmas All Over Again", which premiered on her official Myspace page. On March 3, 2009, their official first single, "Run Boy" was released along with a visually electric music video. The single premiered on People.com. A Million Trillion Stars was officially released in stores on March 10 by independent record label, Little Vanilla Records. In 2009, Manning was featured on indie band Dreamers' song "Lonely World", as well as in their new music video called "The Dreamers". In the music video, she takes on the role of Ring Master. On October 28, she announced that Boomkat is working on their third studio album. The band's fifth music video from A Million Trillion Stars premiered on MySpace on Wednesday, February 17, 2010.
In September 2009, Manning stated that she is working on a solo album. The album is "dance music and it’s colorful, flamboyant, if you will. Boomkat’s a little darker, experimental, like Portishead kind of stuff," she told in an interview with Adam Bernard.
She sang her first solo single, "So Talented" in an episode of Melrose Place. The song was written with the producer Linney (Darkchild Entertainment). On September 3, 2009, it was confirmed that two tracks were completed for the album.
After the song "Spotlight" was featured in an episode of Manning's show Hawaii Five-0, it was released as a teaser for the album via iTunes & Amazon MP3. "Turn It Up" is being released as the first official single. The music video premiered on People.com on May 4, 2011. "Turn It Up" peaked at No. 21 on Billboard (magazine)'s Dance Club Songs Chart for the week of October 22, 2011.
Manning's single "Send Me Your Love" was released digitally worldwide on August 21, 2012. The song is the first official single from her solo album entitled Freedom City, which was released in September. It topped the Dance Club Songs chart. Manning followed "Send Me Your Love" with "Summer Ashes", a collaboration with KDrew released on July 23, 2013.
Her single with Bynon 'All The Way' was released January 12, 2015.
Boomkat's record company, Little Vanilla Records is owned by Manning. She has a clothing line called Born Uniqorn with best friend Tara Jane. The brand was founded in fall 2005. Born Uniqorn has hosted many benefits for charity organizations in Los Angeles. Her fashion icons are Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. Manning was honored with "Film Fashion Visionary" award at the 2009 Bel Air Film Festival.
She has appeared in Juicy Couture's advertising campaign and in Frankie B`s spring 2009 campaign. They shot a short film, which follows a day in the life of a Frankie B. woman. The video is called "Let's Get Lost" which is the original song featured in the video by musician Gilby Clarke with vocals by Manning.
Manning posed nude for Playboy in the April 2011 issue of the magazine.
Manning supports American Dog Rescue Foundation; the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States; Save The Music Foundation, which advocates keeping music classes in schools; and the Somaly Mam Foundation, which works on eliminating human trafficking in Asia; as well as several breast cancer charities. Manning owns a home in Los Angeles, as well as an apartment in New York City's Greenwich Village.
Manning was aboard JetBlue Airways Flight 292 when it made an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport on September 21, 2005, after the nose gear jammed in an abnormal position. No one was injured. She stated that "it was the most surreal, out-of-body experience I ever had."
On October 12, 2012, Manning was arrested for assaulting her personal assistant and makeup artist, Holli Hartman. The victim declined to prosecute and in November 2012, Manning took a plea bargain of one day of community service, and if she stayed out of trouble for the next six months, the case would be closed.
In 2016, Manning was accused of violently attacking Hartman yet again. The victim sought a restraining order against Manning but was denied due to jurisdictional filing issues. The attack was one of several Hartman claimed to have suffered with the most recent abuse occurring in late 2015 at Manning's Manhattan apartment.