Interview with Katie LeClerc of "Switched at Birth" on ABC Family - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Interview with Katie LcClerc of "Switched At Birth" on ABC Family 3/4/15

ABC Familyís Q&A with Katie Leclerc
Switched at Birth

Moderator: What has been Daphneís biggest challenge and whatís coming up for her down the road?

Katie: Daphne has been through a lot this season. I think what was hardest for Daphne was what Bay went through. In seasons past my character kind of fell off the deep end and I got to explore different sides of this character, and this season was all about Daphneís compassionate side, and that doesnít let up in the finale episode either. Daphne is one of the kindest human characters that Iíve gotten to play, and Iím so glad that Iíve gotten to. She loves with all of her heart, she has the biggest heart of anyone that Iíve ever not actually met. In the finale episode I think her compassion gets tested again with her friends sort of in a different way than it has been with her family. But her connection to her sister is so strong that I think everything they went through was very difficult for Daphne as well.

Moderator: Where do you see her in five years?

Katie: You know what I love about our story is that our creator, Lizzy Weiss, keeps inventing and she keeps coming up with different new paths for these characters to explore. I think Daphne is steadfast going after her goal of being a doctor very strongly. In five years I feel like sheíll probably be very close to getting there. We all know it takes eight years, so I think sheíll probably be in school still. But I donít know as far as her personal life what could change, because these characters evolve so quickly that I could barely keep up.

Moderator: Do you think Daphne made the right decision to attend UMKC instead of Gallaudet?

Katie: Oh, heck yes! I think Daphne is one of those people who bloom where sheís planted, so I think she would have been great at Gallaudet as well. But especially because of everything that happened with her family this season I think it was really monumental for her to be close to her family. Sheís so emotionally close to them that I think being that far, I think it would have worn on her, so I think itís good she stayed at UMKC. Plus sheís with Melody, so thatís even better. I get more Marlee Matlin time.

Moderator: Do you think weíll see her college experience lighten up at all?

Katie: I think so. The sorority thing was an interesting thing for Daphne to try. That probably would have lightened her up a little bit, but sheís very intense so Iím not sure she lightens up too easily.

Moderator: What is the vibe like on set when you have to film those serious scenes?

Katie: Our cast is not very serious most of the time. We all love our job so much because we get to go to work and we get to play, and we do play for 12 hours a day together, which ultimately just makes us very close. The vibe is usually very similar regardless of what weíre filming, maybe with the minor exceptions of the Bay and Tank scenes, but that didnít necessarily take the whole day it was just a couple scenes throughout the day. Weíre very silly, and I think when you are dealing with such a heavy subject you have to be able to be sensitive to that subject and make sure that mentally you can also get through it. We love the table reads the most, because everybody gets together in the same room and we all can laugh at each otherís jokes, but it doesnít mean we stop cracking jokes when no oneís around. I make myself laugh more than I make anyone else laugh, though.

Moderator: Is it hard to get back into the scene if you broke for a blooper or something funny happened?

Katie: I think it depends on the situation. For example, the scene with Mingo and Daphne where certain preventative health matters. Okay, letís be real, the condom got stuck, and it was a really funny moment [laughs]. That scene in particular was harder to be serious than it was any other scene that weíve ever done, because we were just cracking jokes left and right.

Moderator: What do you hope happens with Mingo? If Daphne could be with any character who would you want her to be with?

Katie: Iím going to answer the second one first, because itís such an easy answer for me [laughs]. I miss Wilke, I miss Austin Butler; I loved that storyline. I thought he cared about Daphne in a way that a lot of the other boys that she had gone after did not. I do, I miss Wilke. I love him.

I love Mingo, though, too. Adam Hagenbuch is the actorís name. Adamís great. Heís hilarious, because I mean you look at him and you see that he is, what, 6í 3Ē and a beast of a man and a personal trainer and you could do laundry on his abs [laughs]. He is one of the most intelligent people Iíve ever met. While the cameras are not rolling, while weíre not cracking jokes, weíre talking about things like physics and science and different theories about the planets, which is something that maybe I didnít necessarily expect right away. I do love Adam, and I do love the Mingo storyline.

I know that the fans love the Daphne and Josh storyline, so Iím not really sure where weíre headed in terms of what Lizzy has planned for them next. But Iím good with either way. I think that Austin Cauldwell, who plays Josh, does a good job acting as a Coto. Iím blessed to work with really, really good actors, and they are all really attractive, too, so Iíll take what I could get [laughs].

Moderator: Will we be seeing Josh in the finale?

Katie: I have a feeling that heís not going anywhere anytime soon.

Moderator: Whatís your relationship like with Vanessa [Marano] off camera?

Katie: Oh, sheís absolutely, hands-down one of my favorite people in the entire planet. Sheís one of my closest friends, and definitely when it came time for me to buy a house she was like ďWhy donít you come live by me,Ē and I was like ďHmm, okay, itís 45 minutes out of the city, no problem!Ē She and I live about 10 minutes from each other. Somebody asked us if we saw each other as much when we were on hiatus as we were when we were filming, and we both realized that we see each other more when weíre on hiatus, because when weíre filming usually we donít have scenes together. So, yes, very close with her, love her dearly.

Moderator: Whatís it like working on set?

Katie: Itís amazing; it is my dream job, it is a dream come true. Every day I get to pinch myself. Sometimes at 4:00 in the morning Iím pinching myself. Thatís how much I love my job [laughs].

Moderator: How do you feel that you and your character are similar?

Katie: As I mentioned before, I love Daphne. I want to be like Daphne. Sheís feisty and sheís strong willed, but she stands up for what she believes in. Sheís brave, sheís normal, she doesnít get caught up. Sheís normal in the sense that, for example, sheís sad the sorority doesnít want her, but sheís also realistic in the sense that in the big picture itís not really that big of a deal.

I donít know how much Iím like Daphne but I want to be like Daphne.

Moderator: Is there any advice that you would give to a girl in college or going into college from the experiences that youíve gone through with your character?

Katie: Absolutely. I just touched on it just now; itís all about the big picture. I didnít go to college necessarily, I took classes to stay on my parentís health insurance for a long time [laughs], but I didnít necessarily have a major. I knew I wanted to be an actor, so I was really taking classes as a supplement.

For me, college was a really good experience; it was way better than high school and it was 10,000 times better than middle school. I think as you grow up things just get better, it gets easier, you gain perspective, and if you have the patience to let whatever the situation is play out in the big picture -- in the long run things that feel so heavy and so important donít necessarily stay as highlighted when you look back on your life. My advice would just be to stay positive and try to think about the big picture.

Moderator: Will Daphne and Emmett ever get back to the friendship that they used to have?

Katie: I think thatís definitely possible. I donít think thereís necessarily a whole lot of romantic feeling in either of their brains anymore, but definitely friendship wise. Itís really hard, because Emmett was Daphneís lifesaver at a very young age and now Bay is Daphneís sister. So itís one of those things where you can be a good friend to multiple people in different places at different stages in their life.

I think Daphne and Emmett could absolutely be friends. It also depends on timing how the Bay and Emmett situation plays out. If they end up on good terms then absolutely Daphne and Emmett could be friends right away, but if it doesnít actually go the way that Bay is hoping it might be a little bit harder for Daphne. Sheís pretty defensive of Bay.

Moderator: If you could play any other character on Switched at Birth who would it be and why?

Katie: We have a lot of really great guest stars this season. Sharon [Pierre-Louis], who plays Iris, is really, really, really sweet and really fun. I like her spunky personality. I think she matches well with Daphne.

We donít really have any villain characters, like a Chip Coto character. I want to like twist my imaginary mustache a little bit [laughs]; I want to play that kind of character.

Moderator: If you could have any guest star come on the show who would you pick?

Katie: Kristin Chenoweth, absolutely hands-down, 1,000%, donít even have to think about it [laughs]. Could somebody call Kristin Chenoweth and get her on our show? She is amazing, she is perfect, and cute, and adorable. I feel like her and Marlee Matlin are friends in real life. She could be in ďBatter Up the Musical.Ē She could play Kathrynís [Lea K. Thompson] character in the musical. Things are coming together. Letís get Lizzy on the phone, because this is just gold. Letís get Kristin Chenoweth. [laughs]

Moderator: Could you tell us a surprising thing you may have learned about yourself through playing Daphne?

Katie: I had been acting for eight years before I got Switched at Birth, and definitely had been stretched and had been challenged in performing different types of roles. Switched at Birth was the hardest thing Iíd ever done. It was the biggest thing that I had ever done in terms of being like ďWow, I am on a real TV show and I was the lead character, and Iím a series regular, oh, and Iím speaking two languages at the same time with an accent that I just barely learned,.Ē I have to keep my jaw closed because Iím working with all these awesome people like Lea Thompson and Constance [Marie] and Lucas [Grabeel] and all these people. It was the most challenging thing Iíd ever, ever, ever done.

Now itís sort of second nature, like I can flip the switch on and do the accents and the foreign language and I can wrap my brain around it, but to start off was so challenging. The thing that I learned about myself is that I can do it. I had always dreamed of being on a series as a series regular, as a lead character, but I think itís one of those things where until you actually get thrust into that situation and itís sort of either sink or swim you figure out how your professional business is run. I want to run my business as professionally as I can. I show up with all of my lines memorized 10 minutes early. What Iíve figured out is how to be myself, how to be Katie:, at the same time as navigating this really overwhelming industry. And Iím really proud of that.

Moderator: Do you have any mantras or confidence boosting tips or tricks that you do to psych yourself up?

Katie: I totally do. Music is a really big motivator for me, so sometimes if I have a big day at work or if I have a big audition I will put on some sort of ridiculously happy pop song, most of the time itís Taylor Swift -- or actually right before I got the job for Switch at Birth it was a High School Musical song, which talk about irony when Lucas walked in the room I almost lost my mind [laughs]. So I will blast music as loud as I can and dance like no one is watching. But thatís usually what I do.

And if that doesnít work I think about the best advice I ever got, which was from my father before this huge acting competition. My mom and I were in New York for five days. The first day my dad sent up a fruit basket with a card, and the card said, ďDefine the moment -- donít let the moment define you,Ē and thatís something that Iíve held onto forever. Itís the best advice Iíve ever received. I really think that we are in power of our environment, and I believe in manifestation and if you can visualize success it is so much easier to attain. I just try to keep those things in mind, and try to do it with some spunk and positive energy.

Moderator: Who is your favorite character other than Daphne?

Katie: I would say John Kennish. There are times, for example - when Bay found out her secret was spread and there was a big campus wide investigation -- D.W. [Moffett] came over and sat with her. He just has these really tender moments. But man he can be hard, he can be scary, and especially if anybodyís seen Friday Night Lights he is terrifying [laughs]. He has these very real moments of caring and tenderness. Maybe he just reminds me of my dad in the sense that you can be tough but you can love at the same time. Itís not hard to do that emotionally as a person, I think weíre all feeling two things at once, but for D.W. to portray that is really difficult, and he does such a great job with it.

Moderator: Whoís the silliest on set?

Katie: Actually I would say D.W. as well. Heís such a conundrum, this man. I love him so much. He is absolutely so fricking silly, and the moment they call cut heís the first one to start busting into jokes or silly dances or whatever. Lea will dance sometimes, but itís more like sheís just dancing because sheís a beautiful dancer. D.W.ís dancing to be silly. The funny thing about D.W., though, is that he will always get me to break character. In five years I have attempted numerous times and Iíve never gotten him to break, but mark my words before this year it is over, I am going to bust him.

Moderator: Do you have any hobbies that you love?

Katie: I love hiking and running. I love being with my dog. I love just telling stories, thatís my favorite, but mostly with my dogs.

Moderator: If you could switch places with anyone, for one day, who would you want it to be?

Katie: Can I just be Queen Meryl Streep for a day and see what thatís like? Iíll try that on. Polish my Oscars and sing and feel good about my life.

Moderator: Do you love live Tweeting with fans during episodes?

Katie: I do love live Tweeting, I really do. I donít always get to do it as much as I want, but when I can I think itís so much fun. Fans are so excited and it makes me so excited, and Iím easily excitable and then usually that excites people, so itís just really exciting.
Moderator: Any chance thereís a PLL and Switched at Birth crossover after fans saw the picture of you and Keegan Allen?

Katie: I just really enjoy Keegan! I think heís just a really sweet kid, a hunky man. Heís really sweet and heís very artistic and really passionate about his work. Iím really excited for him; he just released his book.

Mostly, that picture was from when we had this great opportunity for literally every ABC Family show to be in the same building over a 48-hour period. Some shows we got to cross over with and some shows we didnít really get to, but the ones we did see itís always great to see each other. We run into each other at the ABC Family Christmas party and stuff like that, so we see each other pretty regularly but itís not often that we get to have lots of downtime and then make a snap chat, so that was really nice as well.

Moderator: If you could dream cast yourself in another ABC Family show what would it be?

Katie: Oh, you know what I would love is a Pretty Little Liars/Switched at Birth crossover, like letís just make Tuesdays super epic! Itís pretty epic right now, but letís embrace that craziness. I would love to be on Pretty Little Liars. I love the sitcom schedule, so Iíll take a day on Baby Daddy. Really Iíll take anybody who wants to employ me [laughs].

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