Interview with Vanessa Marano from "Switched at Birth" on ABC Family - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Vanessa Marano

Interview with Vanessa Marano of "Switched at Birth" on ABC Family 5/30/14

ABC Familyís Q&A with Vanessa Marano
Switched at Birth

Moderator: How excited were you when Switched at Birth was renewed for a new season?

Vanessa: You know, itís so funny; Iíve been doing this for a very long time so I go into everything very cynically; like, ďAlright, well, letís see if weíre coming back.Ē We never know. But Switched at Birth is the first show Iíve ever been on thatís generated such a positive strong audience response. Weíve got incredible support from our viewers, specifically, the deaf community. Thereís an amount of confidence there knowing that we have an audience rooting for us and wanting us to come back, so that was nice. Whatís great about the way ABC Family works is that they split up your seasons seasonally, so to speak, so you have your winter season and your summer season. We have a hiatus, a break, for two months knowing that we were coming back airing in the summer, so thatís kind of nice to have a break and then also know that your job is coming back!

Moderator: Is there any one topic on the program that has had a very large impact on your personal life?

Vanessa: We deal with so many topics on our show. Weíve covered the deaf community. Weíve covered a lot of social and cultural differences. This last season, we introduced a character who was in a wheelchair, which actually was very close to my heart because I work with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
And theyíve been working so hard to find a cure for paralysis. It was great Switched introduced the character who was paralyzed and was so hopeful to find a cure because that particular foundation is so close to finding a cure that itís unbelievable. So that tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.

This coming season, it gets very emotional; and thereís a particular episode, in the middle of the season, that I found very relatable. I think everyoneís going to find relatable. I canít give you too much information about that. All I can say is that it was a very emotional episode for everyone involved, and everyoneís experienced it.

Moderator: What is going to happen between Bay and Emmett this summer?

Vanessa: I think Bay and Emmett fans are going to be very happy this summer. But of course, itís Bay and Emmett, so theyíre not without their trials and tribulations. Itís a relationship that I think all the fans have been waiting to see, revisited and brought back to life. Now that theyíre finally there, itís not without its struggle. You canít just get back into a relationship specifically the way they got back into the relationship. It left with Emmett cheating, and they got back together with her cheating on her current boyfriend. So thereís a little bit of a mess right now, but theyíre together. Theyíre in the mess together.

Moderator: Whatís going to be happening with Bay and Daphneís relationship?

Vanessa: Itís a particularly difficult season for Daphne. Sheís very nervous about her motherís safety now that sheís involved in this East Riverside Project. In the premiere episode, Bay and Daphne team up to find the guy who threw the brick through the window in order to make peace with him so they know Regina is safe where she is. I donít know if thatís going to go according to plan, but again, does it ever go according to plan?

Moderator: How does Bay address her new relationship with Emmitt to her current boyfriend Tank?

Vanessa: Bay has been cheated on. Sheís experienced the heartache of it. She is very sensitive in that situation, and she immediately wants to tell him. She wants to break up with him. She wants to not hurt him. She doesnít know what she wants to do, but she knows what the right thing to do is. So sheís being pulled into two different directions as far as her knowing she doesnít want to hurt him, but she also knows that he needs to be aware of the situation. Bay is feeling so terrible about herself, and Emmett having no way to really comfort her. I think what hurts the most is in her situation with Emmett, it was someone who cheated on her who cared so much about her, and she cares about Tank, but not in the way that Emmett cares about her. I think that brings up a lot of scars for her as well. The premiere episode is a rough one for everyone involved in that triangle.

Moderator: How will things continue to escalate between Emmett and Matthew after the Mandy ordeal?

Vanessa: We find out a little bit more about Matthew and his reasoning. He is not exactly the most grounded, well-rounded human being in the sense thatóthat may be with a little bit of an overreaction, but, yes, we definitely find out more about him and his motives behind the whole ordeal this season.

Moderator: Whatís it like working with Marlee Matlin?

Vanessa: So fabulous! She is the definition of a fantastic actress. She is so talented, but also so lovely to work with. She brings this humorous energy to a set thatís contagious, and she really is a joy to work with. The fact that we had her on our show, a show that is really the first show on television to feature a guest character so prominently, and then feature the deaf community so prominently, was such an honor that she agreed to be on. Sheís part of the Switched at Birth family, and we wouldnít have it any other way, and we love every minute that sheís on set.

Moderator: Whatís your favorite part about working on Switched at Birth?

Vanessa: I would say the people that I get to work with. I think part of the reason that the show has resonated with audiences is the energy that we all have with each other, and we really all got along from day one. Itís nice because Iíve worked on many television shows and what we have on Switched at Birth is actually something very special and very difficult to find. I can say I love going to work every day: 12 hours, 5 days a week, no sleep; I love going to work every day!

Moderator: What is it like working on the actual Switched at Birth set?

Vanessa: Itís great! Itís one of the best sets Iíve ever worked on. I really love everybody I work with!

Moderator: What was your favorite episode of this past season?

Vanessa: I would shockingly enough say the field hockey episode where I was in the goalie outfit because I love the woman who directed that episode. It was the first time that theyíve written into a script that Vanessa: skills and Bay skills matched up with one another, which is that they had no skills -- so that was very easy to play.

Moderator: What is your personal fashion style like and what influencers are involved with Bayís style?

Vanessa: Our fabulous costume designer, Courtney Stern, is very collaborative, so sheís definitely open to suggestions and ideas. I would say whatís similar about me and Bay is definitely we both go dark, we like our dark colors, but thatís because Bay and I have the same coloring, obviously [laughs]. Bay is definitely more of a fashion risk-taker, which I think you see reflected because our costume designer is as well. Bay does more of the combat boot thing, the lacey thing. She dresses herself up in that artistic way, which is a little bit different than me, but always something that Iím working on, like, ďOkay, how can I take that and put it into my wardrobe and mesh it together?Ē

Moderator: How does it feel to consistently be recognized and part of a program that has an outstanding achievement in television?

Vanessa: Awesome! Itís something that you donít necessarily expect coming into a show about family and a show about teenage girls. Itís not a genre that actually gets recognized and honored in the way that Switched has been honored, so itís such an amazing feeling. Itís so great because you feel like youíre doing something that people really enjoy, and itís really resonating with people. That doesnít come around very often, so weíre enjoying every minute of that.

Moderator: Are there any special guest star in the upcoming season of Switched at Birth?

Vanessa: We will be seeing a lot of the guest stars from last season in this season of Switched at Birth, as well as some new people too. Iím not sure that I can reveal too much about whoís coming on, but we love our guest stars! Weíre a big fan of guest stars on Switched at Birth.

Moderator: Are you big a fan of the Disney brand?

Vanessa: I was just at Disneyland Resort on Memorial weekend with my little sister, funny enough, and she was just at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so Iím going to go with a yes on that one [laughs].

Moderator: What is your favorite Disney theme park?

Vanessa: Iím going to go with Disneyland, the original in California, because Iím a California girl so all my childhood memories are there. You canít beat the park that you were going to when you were two years old!

Moderator: Whatís your favorite Disney ride or attraction in a Disney park?

Vanessa: I would say itís a coin toss between Splash Mountain or Pirate of the Caribbean. I do enjoy water.

Moderator: Whatís your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?

Vanessa: Thereís something about a pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse that fills my heart with glee. I love soft pretzels. Thatís a big guilty pleasure of mine, itís shaped like Mickeyís face and it makes me feel like Iím five years old again.

Moderator: What is your favorite Disney character?

Vanessa: My favorite Disney character of all time, thatís hard. I think it changes; my favorite princess growing up was Belle. I watched Pinocchio over and over again as a child because my dadís from Italy and that was the movie that he was like, ďLook, it looks like where I used to live!Ē Also, Peter Pan, I watched over and over again. I love Alice in Wonderland and then Lion King. Itís really hard to choose; thereís so many that I enjoy!

Moderator: Whatís one piece of advice you would personally give to Bay?

Vanessa: Think things through! Girlfriend doesnít think anything through [laughs], she says the first thing that comes to her head. She does not ever think of the negative repercussions of anything. Itís funny because I think thatís directly related to her two mothers. Regina is very independent and very much does what she wants no matter what anybody says. And Kathryn always looks on the positive side of things, always, everythingís going to turn out okay. Those two combinations create Bay, someone who does what she wants and never thinks anything negative is going to happen.

Moderator: Whatís going to happen on the upcoming season with Bay and her art?

Vanessa: This is their last year of high school for the Switched at Birth gang, so Iím sure as all the teenagers who watch the show know thatís a very stressful time when youíre applying to colleges and your future is right there in front of you. Bay has always known what she wanted to do with her life, so sheís applying to art colleges and thatís where sheís at right now. Itís a very scary process because you just donít know whatís going to end up happening.

Moderator: Whatís going to happen with the families this season?

Vanessa: As always, theyíre together and have each otherís back. Thatís not without their conflicts because the Vasquez/Sorrento clan is very different than the Kennish clan. Weíre reeling from Tobyís divorce, so everyoneís trying to get him back up on his feet; as well as Bay feeling whether or not itís the right time to tell everyone that her and Emmett have rekindled an old flame. As always, thereís Reginaís safety at this point in time just because the project that sheís working on in East Riverside with her boss, Wes, is such a dangerous idea to the point where a brick gets thrown through your window. Itís a matter of taking care of her as well. No matter whatís going on in their lives, they always have each otherís back.

Moderator: What has been the most challenging storyline youíve had to play as Bay?

Vanessa: Bay and Emmett have so many different aspects of their relationship that are so difficult. For the first portion of their time together, it was me having to learn sign language, which was very hard. For the second portion of their time together, it was him cheating on her and still playing that youíre in love with someone whoís cheated on you -- because I have my own opinion about cheating, which is that you donít go back to the person -- but Bay obviously went back to him. So thatís a very challenging thing for me to portray. You throw in trying to sign all of that when youíre angry, when youíre sad, when youíre happy, and all the rants that she could be going on because sheís at so many different emotional levels of the whole thing, it gets very challenging. But at the same time, thatís some of my favorite stuff to do because I like being challenged when Iím performing.

Moderator: Could you talk about your work with Cruelty Free International?

Vanessa: Iím not a vegetarian or anything like that, but I canít stand the idea of animals not being treated properly. Thereís something so terrible about the fact that we take advantage of creatures who canít speak for themselves, and they do so much for us from a place of happiness, from so many other aspects in this world, that I feel like itís our human duty to make sure we treat them with care. Cruelty Free International really wants to promote that there are so many other ways to test cosmetics. For something as narcissistic as putting makeup on your face, you really should be going to the other options that donít involve hurting an animal.

Moderator: What are some of your hobbies/talents outside of acting?

Vanessa: Iíve been asking for a very long time, so Iíve devoted a lot of time to that. I also draw a little bit. Iím not as talented as Bay whatsoever. Other than that, really if I have a massive amount of time off when Iím not working, I try to go to school. Thatís the extent of the Vanessa: Marano talent book -- her ability to sit and take notes in a class and doodle on those notes [laughs].

Moderator: Who would you personally choose, Tank or Emmett?

Vanessa: I donít like cheating, but Bay cheated on Tank, so there you go. Itís a really interesting situation that sheís in because I think she was with Tank because she felt so safe with him, and she hasnít felt safe with Emmett for so long, so she wasnít really with Tank for the right reasons. She wants to be with Emmett, but thereís a lack of trust there thatís going to be a hard relationship to be in as well.

Moderator: How do you get into character?

Vanessa: I donít [laughs]. Iíve been acting for a very long time and I started in childrenís theater and really you donít have the time in theater to really get into character. Itís so quick. The philosophy that theater has is that you really get yourself into the headspace. You just kind of turn it on and off. For me, thatís how I do it just because I wouldnít be able to be staying in the headspace of the character for so long. It wouldnít feel real to me because I know in my gut that I am not that character. While imagining and performing it, and being able to slip in and out of it feels real to me because I know itís not me and Iím creating something. I feel like itís similar to creating a painting or creating words on a page. Thatís the same thing that acting is to me.

Moderator: Do you have any fun summer plans during your next filming break?

Vanessa: Not at the moment, thereís a possibility that I might go to New York a little bit to visit family, but other than that, nothing planned out right now. Itís very hard to plan your life as an actor because you never know when youíre going to be working. I think that actually goes for anybody whoís in the entertainment industry because you never know when youíre going to be working!

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