Independent Effects Artist and Scare Actress Tiffany Manning [Women In Horror Month 2022]

Tiffany Manning is an independent artist who loves to create monsters and scares as an effects artist and scare actress, here she is in her own words.

Please introduce yourself:
Hello, my name is Tiffany Manning. Born and raised in Ohio. I’m 27yrs old and I’ve been a woman of horror ever since I can remember. Probably since the early age of 4 years old after my first of 19 surgeries when I awoke with stitches and related to Frankenstein’s monster and he forever became one of my favorite works of cinema magic. My love for the stitched monster only grew as my number of stitches grew when my disease Osteogenesis Imperfecta also known as brittle bones disease required me to have corrective surgeries due to fracturing almost every bone in my body hundreds of times.

My only escape being my fascination with film. In particular horror. One of the clearest childhood memories I have is the moment I was introduced to a full horror film. As I was in a body cast laying in front of the family television. One of the old wooden ones with my father asleep in the recliner remote in hand. Playing on tv was Scream. Terrified but intrigued I watched it and was introduced to one of the most empowering final girls Sydney Prescott. From then on, I knew horror was the place for me, the thing I had to be a part of. I began with Scare Acting then worked my way up to make-up artist in one of Ohio’s largest Haunted Houses at the time FORSAKEN HAUNTED HOUSE back in 2011. I continued to make a name for myself in the haunted house industry working in some of Ohio’s top Haunted attractions such as; Mansfield Reformatory, Carnival of Horrors, the ScareAtorium, and many more. As my skills developed, so did my range of original characters.

I went on to develop a total of six original haunted house characters with full backgrounds, costumes, and make ups. By the middle of my haunt career, I was sure I wanted to head into the more professional end of things. However, I was met with a lot of hesitation from people who are already in the business therefore I decided to go into it independently. Using the nickname, I had earned from my physical traits. This nickname later became the name of my small business T-Rex Talents where I provide special makeup effects, props, and acting services for the horror and haunted house attraction industry.

First doing a music video for Trunk Bang LLC for a music video titled B***h I’m hot which led me to doing make up effects for MMH Productions on a few films as well as playing a small creature in one. I then went on to win a few awards, one being judged by Tom Savini himself and Mrs. Romero the other for blood fx in a short film. I’ve also co-starred in a feature film titled Chained For Life where I enjoyed not only being Infront of the camera but learning a lot about the filming process. I then went on to expand my horizons and travel with Cirque Italia’s Paranormal Cirque as a Scare Actor and build horror props for them. Touring around the United States for about 2 years. 

With being only 3ft tall it’s hard for people to believe I hold over a decade of experience under my belt. My seat belt that is. As I am also wheelchair bound. Which also makes me more determined to always keep my wheels turning so to speak through any challenge. Challenges that not only come as a woman in the horror Industry. But also, a disabled person in the industry. But neither of those has stopped me from making my mark. 

What is it that attracts you to the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work? 
There are a multitude of reasons I chose the horror Industry as a career. But the main reason that sums it up is that it chose me. As cliché as that may sound. It is the truth. All my life I’ve been different. There was no possible way to hide my differences. Growing up was difficult to say the least when I was not only different looking but couldn’t do things other children could do. Until one day I sat in the makeup chair of a haunted house and was complimented on the contours of my head. Something I’ve always hated. And given a compliment on being small and different. And was able to play convincing severed bodies and other things no one else could. In the horror world the more abstract you appear. The more you are loved. Being different becomes your super power in the horror world. But that went deeper than looks. All the time spent in hospitals around X-Rays and stitches from surgeries made me knowledgeable. In a world where I struggled in school, I was a genius in horror. So, I suppose my answer would be… The way horror chose me. 

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
Personally, I’d say my family had a lot to do with inspiring me to go down the path I’m still currently traveling down today. My father started my addiction to horror movies at the early age of 4 years old I think. To fight the fear as any young child would have watching these movies, he taught me to analyze how they worked. From the mind of each character to what they would do. But especially how the effects worked. That fascination never left my mind. However, my big brother and my mother have been my biggest support. My brother recently passed away in August. But he was my biggest fan. And had me watching Myth busters and watching him build computers and wanting to work with my hands. And he would be my model. He would assure me that I always did great but that I can always do better even tomorrow. To always know my worth.

My mother has also been my cheerleader since day one. Being a retired hospice clown my first makeup kit came from her old clown kit. I was also the classic “nerd” type that surrounded myself with my favorite fictional characters. Though they were fictional they became a very real inspiration to me. The X-Men seeing differently abled people become heroes. Especially featuring heroes such as the Phoenix and Mystique. Who were women and considered some of the most powerful heroes/villains. The series Charmed was my favorite with such powerful women balancing normal lives while finding themselves and their true powers within and breaking what is known to be the normal for women. In both personal and professionally my struggles inspire me as far as coming up with characters and make ups.

I’ve made several characters based on my worst fears like fears of my health declining. Or struggles of dealing with chronic pain. I’ve also used my many hospital stays to study as much medical things and anatomy as I can. It also helped in making me used to seeing blood and guts. Otherwise professionally I’d say I’m very inspired by KNB FX, Tom Savini, my mentor William Butcher, Howard Berger, Rob Burman. Anyone who takes time to mentor me or give me advice. I believe in that whole heartedly. Lon Chaney is a very big influence and inspiration. Anyone who can improvise. 

What are your passions, cinematic or otherwise? 
Film is my main passion. Knowing as much as I can about films and also being in the industry. Special makeup effects. Bringing imagination and nightmares to life. Once upon a time my existence alone was considered an impossibility. So I just want to continue to make the impossible possible. Other than that I am a huge Marvel fan. Predominantly an X-Men fan. I collect the comics, love the movies and 90s cartoons. I collect props from my favorite films and series. And to keep my artistic mind sharp I draw when time is available. 

Considering this is 2022, why do you think we still need a movement like Women in Horror Month? 
These times seem to be very concentrated on representation. Yet I don’t see very many people like us (woman of horror), and even less people like me represented in the media today. We need more originality in the horror world. And for that we need more girls to feel it’s ok to step out of the shadows and be themselves. The only way to do that is if they see someone who resembles them. Imagine how many would come out of the woodwork with an entire women of horror month! I also think with the chaos in the world today we need horror. We need people to remember there will be a future to focus on.

We need women especially to have a place to put all their rage and express themselves and write themselves as boisterous characters who can handle whatever situation the world throws at them. It all comes down to Art imitates Life. Life imitates Art”. The world is a scary violent place. But it takes the one special final girl to lace up her combat boots, find the will to live, and get through it. Make it to the end because she didn’t do the same thing everybody else was doing. And I think we need that message. Now more than ever. The message for Women of Horror month as well as the message just for the next generation in general. We need to break the cycle of those before us. Do something new to secure a safe future for ourselves. 

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a woman as something that makes it so much more difficult at times? 
I would say let your art speak for you. That’s the bonus of social media these days. Post through a business page via social media. Let people be blown away by your work. Build up your reputation. Then once you have that. It will be much easier. However, everyone has struggles. But use that to fuel you. Don’t walk into a situation with a predetermined attitude. But walk into it with a proud posture knowing your worth. And make sure your work can back it up.

Network. Build a network of references. Not only do you want a solid portfolio. But you want solid references. People who will vouge for you. That you’re good to work with. But most of all don’t give up. Keep in mind no matter who it is. Where they’re at in their field or their gender. Everyone has a reason they run into difficulties. It could be a handicap, age, gender, anything. Just like bullies in grade school, people will find a reason. Ignorance can find a way in. Someone somewhere is going to meet with someone who doubts their abilities until their work speaks for them. So don’t approach the situation doubting yourself due to gender. You are an artist. And that’s what matters. 

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
Never say you can’t. Or as my mom would say. “Can’t, could never.” Just because you don’t have all the top-notch materials everyone else does. Or just because you’ve never done it before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You have to try to succeed. Even a failure is a success because it’s a lesson learned. The beautiful thing about horror is there’s beauty in the mess. The imperfections make it perfect. Horror is the best place to make mistakes, the best place to go over the top because horror true horror is unfiltered. So the mistakes are just more authentic. Knowing this is what made me give my all to projects. To say yes to figuring out how to do fx gags and making my own techniques for things. And that’s when I truly started to progress with my craft. 

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror? 
Taelor Canslor is definitely someone people should be on the watch for. She can do amazing makeup fx, set design, props, beauty makeup, she works hard, plays harder and looks fabulous while doing it. You can find her at @taelorfx 

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
I’ve recently been working with the prop company Distortions Unlimited to create background stories for their line of Pumpkin props. 

As well as 3 independent Films that I’m ecstatic to be working on. I’ll be doing Special makeup effects for each film. 

One is an anthology short film titled Dead Camper Chronicles by Diane/Diana Productions in association with Arch and Pillar Productions. That should be in production March – April 

Another film is a feature length film titled Hobo Saves the World by Panic Terror Films productions. I’ll be doing makeup fx on that. Lots of zombies and monsters. 

And the final one is actually not a horror but a drama with a couple interesting fx makeups. This film’s working title is Riverside Park and it is by Get ² work Productions. I’ll be doing makeup fx in this film as well as playing a role in the film. 

What do you hope to leave behind in your legacy as an artist?
As for my legacy. I just hope to leave behind a world that provides an escape for the next generation the same way my favorite artists provided for me. I grew up living with chronic pain. That was only made tolerable because of the wicked world of monsters that I related to and dreamed of growing up to make. I hope to do that for others someday. I also hope to provide some representation for women in horror, disabled people in horror, people of color in horror, and the LGBTQ+ community in horror. I really just want to leave behind at least one work of art that stays imprinted in someone’s mind. But most of all I’d like my legacy to leave behi nd hope for the weird kids, girls, boys, and everything in between. 

Pop them links to follow your work here: