Taryn Manning headshot tan dress bangs

Taryn Manning, coming to a TV near you. Photo: David Livingston, Getty Images

Although she's been off our radar for the last couple of years, quirky actress Taryn Manning has returned, thanks to front-row appearances at Jill Stuart and VPL during Fashion Week and her new role in CBS's "Hawaii Five-0" remake.

StyleList caught up with Manning, 31, to talk about her evolving style, fashion regrets, and famous friends.

StyleList: "Hawaii Five-0" was huge in the '70s and '80s. Do you remember watching it?
Taryn Manning:
I feel like it was always sort of on in everyone's household. I remember the Hawaiian setting and the sexiness of it. In the new series, I play Steve McGarrett's younger, estranged sister, who wasn't in the original. She's from L.A. and hasn't quite embraced the Hawaii vibe, so she's in black skinny jeans, a brown leather jacket, and has on hot boots and sunglasses. She's too cool for school at the moment.

SL: The fashion in the original series can be cringe inducing. What's your own worst fashion moment?
TM:
The double socks of the '80s! You do a pink sock and a yellow sock on one side, and on the other, you switch it.

Also, Bongo shorts with the ruffle on the bottom worn with the half-top. And, of course, the hair. I used to put one curl forward and one curl back, then brush it and spray it. It was such a bad time!

SL: Do you feel like your style has evolved since your 20s?
TM:
Because a musician lives inside of me [Manning is in the band Boomkat], it's been hard to accept getting older and needing to be more sophisticated. But it's becoming more natural. It's something me and my stylist are doing together. We went to Barneys the other day and bought a bunch of Helmut Lang stuff, because they are simple colors but the shapes get kind of crazy. And I got some T-shirt dresses from Alexander Wang. I also love things that are simple and elegant, like Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.

SL: Do you have any beauty must-haves?
TM:
I'm obsessed with toners. If I need a little pick-me-up, I spritz a vitamin C or Evian toner on my face. It's cold and feels so good. As far as makeup, I'm really minimal. I do cream blush, mascara, and a light, sheer lip gloss in pink tones that's usually flavored, like strawberry or watermelon.

SL: You've worked with major stars like Britney Spears and Kirsten Dunst. Do you still keep in touch?
TM:
I've kept in touch with a lot of co-stars. As for Kirsten, I've known her since we were kids going to acting class together. And if I see Britney around, it's always love. But I don't think she hangs out with anybody, to be honest. I love her, though, we had such a good time [filming "Crossroads"], and she's one of the nicest women, and so polite and sweet. When everything happened to her I was heartbroken.

I also got to work with Eminem in "8 Mile," and me and Brittany Murphy were definitely friends. I am so bummed that she passed away. I still can't believe it.

Me and Zoe Saldana are good friends, and I can't believe what's happened to her! I saw her before "Avatar," and she's like, "I'm going to do this movie for James Cameron and I'm not getting paid anything. I'm kind of annoyed, but I think it's going to be very great for me in the end." And bam!

To see Manning make a "bam" of her own, tune into "Hawaii Five-0" Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

In related television news, check out the best- and worst-dressed TV stars at the 2010 Emmys.