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Interview with Constance Marie of "Switched
at Birth" on ABC Family 5/30/13
ABC Familyís Q&A with Constance Marie
Switched at Birth
Moderator: Could you talk about how your relationship with
Bay will develop in the second half of the season?
C. Marie: Thatís one of the great things that happens right
when the show premieres is Regina comes out rehab and
realizes that how things were before are not going to work
for somebody who is in rehab. She ends up living -- or
residing for a short while anyway-- at Angeloís house, and
somehow the way that [Executive Producer ]Lizzy Weiss
wonderfully works it out, they end up living there also; and
so the entire Vasquez/Kennish family, but the Kennish being
Bay this time, get to know each other and live together in
the Vasquez house.
C. Marie: I know, well, actually I guess itís
Moderator: Can you talk about if weíll be getting to see you
sign at all this season now that your hands are a little bit
C. Marie: Well, the thing about that is theyíre still not
what they were and every once in a while I try it out and
the problem that this kind of injury, it just flares up and
you use your arms so much in life just normally besides the
sign language, so I think itís going to be a bit longer. I
keep asking with my doctor and the problem is heíll say we
donít know yet until it goes away because it just has
flare-ups; and you canít stop the flare-ups without stopping
the activity thatís making it flare up, and in this case
being the sign language, so unfortunately not yet. Iím
hopeful. Iím very hopeful. Iím a very strong woman and I
just hope that itíll come back soon.
Moderator: I hear that when Regina comes out of rehab, sheís
actually coming out a little bit early. Is that really a
good idea or will we see her alcoholism continue to play
out, or is she good now for a while?
C. Marie: I think what happens is Regina realizes how much
her rehab stay has sort of added to the disconnect between
Daphne and her. She realizes that sheís missed so much time
with the girls as it is that her coming out early to honor a
tradition that she and Daphne had ends up being a mistake;
and she has to remove herself again. Thatís why she ends up
at the Sorrento house, Angeloís house, for a while because
she just made a mistake and it was too soon. But she is
clearly on the path of trying to stay sober, so will do
anything including moving in with Angelo if thatís what it
takes to stay sober to get space from the Kennishes.
Moderator: Does that mean weíve seen the last of the
boyfriend? He kind of gave her the old Iíll call you when
Iím back in town kind of thing when he left?
C. Marie: Oh my goodness. I swear Iím envious of my
characterís life. She has so many beautiful men everywhere.
Actually, yes, that storyline as of yet that I know doesnít
pan out. We focus more on Reginaís rehab. One of the things
that are great this season is before it was all about Daphne
and everybody getting to know Daphne and the struggles that
Bay and Daphne had together, but this is really a chance for
Bay and Regina to connect and to explore that relationship,
which was really not touched on in the first season at all.
The dynamic of that and we include Angelo into that and all
of us living together is really and truly an amazing,
amazing dynamic that gets to be explored. Also the thing is
Ty is back; Blair Redford is back on the show by popular
demand. They get to explore those relationships, that
relationship and him and his PTSD and coming back from war.
Itís really, really amazing how dynamic the show is even
Moderator: The wardrobe on Switch at Birth is fantastic. Do
you get any say on what you wear on the show?
C. Marie: Thank you so much. I am going to relay that to our
wonderful wardrobe department.
Itís sort of a collaborative process because especially
since Regina has gone through so many transformations from
more earthy Ö artist, hair stylist forward trashy dressing a
little bit too young to her drinking phase and rehab days
and now since she has a new job that Iím not sureóI can
tease on it, but letís just say sheís very, very
fashionable; and my wardrobe just gets so much better.
Moderator: Speaking of Regina and art, sheís a very artistic
character and obviously you have artistic abilities within
acting, I was wondering do you have any additional artistic
C. Marie: I did major in art. I can paint and draw. I was
also a dancer, which is also an art form and acting. I can
sing, but if I have to. Lea Thompson is an amazing, amazing
singer. I can carry a tune and she can also direct, which is
she is going to end up directing an episode, which Iím so
excited to take direction from her. She was also a dancer,
so weíre just really multi-faceted over here at Switch at
Moderator: It comes through in your part in so many ways. I
really enjoy watching you.
C. Marie: Thank you so much. I love that this show is very
empowering for women and womenís struggles, and it focuses
on how much women have to hold it all together and
particularly the Regina character being a single mom, a
working mom with a deaf child. Really thatís one of the
things that attracted me to the role was because it was an
homage to the single moms of America, who oftentimes are
more seen as victims instead of these empowered, well
rounded still flawed characters that we can champion and
role model. I really love that.
Moderator: Could you tell us a little bit about what itís
like working with Katie and Vanessa?
C. Marie: It is wonderful. I am so appreciative and itís so
refreshing to see young women as centered and talented and
grounded and just hard working, quality individuals. I
cannot gush enough because at the age that theyíre at to be
this together is just inspiring. Itís like when I grow up, I
want to be Vanessa Marano, thatís how amazing she is. Katie
Leclerc, this being one of her first major vehicles has such
a wonderful attitude and such a wealth of talent. I really,
really respect my TV daughters and we get along swimmingly.
For that many females to work together and have a united
front and really respect each other, itís just so wonderful.
I really and truly love it.
Moderator: Thereís rumor to be what if episode coming up this
C. Marie: It was amazing because Regina, my character,
traditionally throughout the show has carried a lot of the
blame and a lot of the residual effect of everybody blaming
her that she didnít tell about the switch, which is
interesting as Lizzy Weiss told me that my character knew
from the pilot; and at first I was conflicted by that. Then
I realized that I, probably, Constance, would not tell
either because your child is four years old and youíre not
going to give away a child that truly believed that you are
In this episode, the what if episode thatís airing in July,
itís so exciting because my character does tell. It has a
crazy butterfly effect that changes everybody. There are
physical changes, emotional changes with the daughters, you
wonít even recognize them, and John and Kathrynís
relationship is different. My characterís life is
completely, completely different and itís just riveting.
When I read the script I cried like three times and it was
just so moving. I think everybody is going to really be
intrigued by this what if episode and just how far it
stretches the effect.
Moderator: Is your own daughter about the same age?
C. Marie: Exactly. I had to shoot some scenes that as an
actor I had to go to places that were incredibly, incredibly
difficult and I might not even be able to watch them,
theyíre so moving and well written. Our writers just did
such a great job creating this what if reality. Itís so
expansive and I was like I never thought about how that
would be different and how that would be different and how
they would be different; itís amazing.
Moderator: We should all watch this one with a box of tissue,
C. Marie: I would say definitely.
Moderator: What was your inspiration in creating the Easy
Greeny Mommy that you have on your website?
C. Marie: The inspiration for me was I struggled with
fertility issues for three and a half years. One of the
things I did was a tremendous amount of research about what
could be impeding my fertility like toxins or BPA in the
plastic bottles we drink with water, all that sort of stuff.
Once I ended up getting pregnant and having a baby, I
realized oh my gosh, I know about the toxicity of the
environment so much, why donít I also translate all that
information to my daughter.
One of the things was Iím so proud that I used cloth diapers
instead of the petrochemicals they have in disposable
diapers. I used glass bottles. I would tell people that I
would meet as a mom and they would be like, where do you get
this information from? That made me realize somebody needs
to come up with some things that can relay the information
to a mom in a simple way, not so many details that itís
overwhelming because literally youíre not getting any sleep.
Youíre breastfeeding. You just need it easy and so I got
Easy Greeny Mommy.
Moderator: Do you plan on having a book coming out with more
details in the future?
C. Marie: Yes. I have to say Switched at Birth, to maintain
that quality and that character Regina it takes a tremendous
amount of time, so I have had to put the book a little bit
on the back burner. Itís something thatís always in the
works, so when I have an episode that Iím not in so much,
which thankfully that hasnít really happened yet, the book
has to take the back burner to Switched because thatís my
number one love right now.
One of the best things about Switched is that I hear that
moms and their children watch it together, and especially
the daughters and the moms. I think itís a wonderful bonding
experience that Iíve heard is a phenomenon and sometimes
they even get the dads in there, too, which is wonderful.
Moderator: Congrats on Switched at Birth receiving three Teen
Choice Award nominations this year.
C. Marie: Yay, Iím so excited. I want everybody to vote for
our young talent, because they deserve it. Theyíre actually
using their celebrity for good, and I think that needs to be
Moderator: Is there anyone youíd love to work with some day?
C. Marie: Of course, Meryl Streep; that would be number one.
I would be willing to play anything in any scene, even a
shrub, with Meryl Streep. I mean thereís nobody better, if
you ask me. Sheís wonderful.
Moderator: Are there any other additional struggles for
Regina this season?
C. Marie: One of the struggles that she has is dealing with
the rehabóthatís huge, and when and if she and Angelo ever
are to get together. That is a huge one and that is an
amazing push me/pull you relationship; and the dynamic
between Gilles Marini and myself is truly, truly wonderful.
Plus she also had to deal with the baggage of this new baby
that he has and how far involved, is she going to help raise
that new baby? Is she going to be insta-mom to an out of
relationship situation that Angelo, a one night stand that
he had? That is a huge dynamic and also the resentment and
the relationship of Bay, thatís something weíve never really
explored and that she has to handle with kid gloves.
Itís now with Daphne, Daphne has always been the one that I
championed and I stuck by. Now Daphne is threatened by Bay
living with me and me getting to know Bay, and so you get to
see a side of Daphne youíre not used to seeing.
Moderator: What is your favorite episode from the ones that
have aired already?
C. Marie: Oh, thatís tough. I would say just because of the
cathartic moment that it was the one when I tell Daphne
about the suitcase and that I knew about the switch. That
moment gives me chills when I even watch it; and the pretend
wedding to Angelo was so awesome. I love my reaction at the
end, you know like what am I doing here? That was great.
Moderator: Could you tell our readers a little bit of a
behind the scenes moment or something fun that would give
them and idea of what itís like to be on the set at Switched
C. Marie: People would be just crazily surprised at how funny
D.W. Moffett is, and you see him as this intense dad and how
silly he is and how funny he is. I think people would be
also surprised to see how silly Lea Thompson is. She is just
hilarious. When she gets really tired, she channels her
inner Ethel Merman and itís hilarious.
I think people would be surprised at how long it takes to
shoot every single scene. Weíre there for hours. Yesterday
Gilles Marini and I and Vanessa Marano shot three scenes in
Angeloís apartment and it was just like all day long. We
literally just go change our clothes and come back and do a
completely different scene. One rightóand theyíre out of
order. People would be startled by the process.
Moderator: How does it feel knowing you are part of such a
positive impact on the ASL world?
C. Marie: Honestly I feel truly, truly blessed. Working on
the show has expanded my mind and now I can say that I speak
a fourth language; and Iíve just fallen in love with the
deaf community. They have been so helpful and so supportive
of this show. Now that Iím not signing it doesnít mean that
I still canít read the signs and communicate with everybody.
It just really has been refreshing, but to me the most
important thing is that, because Iím very active on Twitter
and Instagram and Facebook, thatís a major mode of
communication for the deaf community.
A lot of hearing students, Iíve heard back from them that
theyíve actually petitioned their high schools to start
having American Sign Language as a second language in their
high school. A lot of people have been motivated to become
interpreters because they really didnít even know that it
was a career path and it was a language that they would fall
in love with. Then the vast majority who have learned sign
language by watching the show because thereís never been
anything like it before where you could actually see the
words as itís signed and all you would have to do is freeze
frame and watch the language.
Theyíve learned and some people have told me stories where
they run into somebody with sign language and they can sign
nice to meet you and that that deaf person was so
appreciative that they tried to make the connection with
them. I cannot sing the praises of Lizzy Weiss and ABC
Family enough for taking the risk to do a project like this
and Iím just really proud.
The biggest compliment I got was when I was in rehab for my
arm, and they had never dealt with anybody who had this
repetitive motion syndrome and the nerve damage from sign
Iím in the middle of my rehab and my therapist realized that
there was one other person who was an interpreter who had a
little bit of rehab done on her arm. She tried to introduce
us and the interpreter turned to me and she said, ďI know
who you are and I really love your work. I believe you as a
person who has been doing sign language for 12 years.Ē I was
like yes! If an interpreter will tell you that, then thatís
the best compliment in the world. I really felt like yes,
Iíve done something good.
Moderator: How is Reginaís relationship with John and
C. Marie: Letís just say John and Kathryn are not happy with
the fact that Iíve been in rehab, and theyíre not happy with
the fact that Iím actually returning from rehab, because
everybody has gone on with their lives. Theyíve bonded with
Daphne; Daphne has been living with them. Now they havenít
had to deal with the co-parenting issues, which are a major
part of the drama. The Kennishes are wonderful parents.
Regina is a wonderful parent. We just do it differently.
Letís just say Regina doesnít get a warm welcome when she
Moderator: We see Regina and Angelo living in the same house.
How does that pan out? Do they see sides of each other that
they didnít expect to see, or learn more about each other?
C. Marie: Yes. Letís just say Angelo knows nothing about
being a parent, so he thinks like this easy breezy and that
doesnít necessarily happen. Also you get to learn a lot of
the cultural things, how Bayís life would be different with
different kinds of food and different artistic outlets. Itís
not quite a what if episode, but itís just a different view
on parenting. To say that that threatens the Kennishes would
be an understatement.
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