Katie Leclerc: ‘I want people to see that the deaf worlds and the hearing worlds really are not that different’

Watch Katie Leclerc in “Switched  at Birth,” Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.

Like her character Daphne Vasquez on the hit ABC Family drama “Switched at Birth,”?24-year-old Katie Leclerc is hearing-impaired. The actress gave us a look into her life.

How did your involvement in the show come about?

When I read the script, I knew that we were tapping into something that had never been done before. When I heard Constance [Marie] was cast and Lea Thompson was cast, all the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. It really just rang true. This is the first show that’s doing the deaf culture and showing the deaf culture in the way  that we are, but we do it with respect and class — and it’s a very accurate eyehole into this world.

You play a character who’s deaf, and you’re hard of hearing. What’s that like?

I was diagnosed with Menier’s disease at age 20, and one of the symptoms  is fluctuating hearing loss. Sometimes I can hear fine and sometimes I’m not able to hear the phone, for example, or respond to someone calling my name across the room. So I can relate to Daphne on those levels. The pressure and the ringing in the ears is a bummer, but it’s just one of those things that you sort of get used to. The attacks of vertigo are the worst, but they happen more at night and production’s very aware, so if I ever have a problem I’ll just sit down and take a breather and they’re very OK with that. It’s very strange to only look at someone’s mouth when they’re talking, and with HD these days, [the audience sees] if you’re looking at someone’s eyes or mouth, so I have to be very aware of what I’m responding to. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s a great challenge.

What do you want viewers to take away from the show?

I want people to see that the deaf worlds and the hearing worlds really are not that different. I want people to really feel like family is where you belong, and I hope that this show helps people connect back with their families. I hope that it exposes them to new cultures, and I hope people are  less afraid of differences.

ABC?Family has tackled some mature topics lately. Do you feel the pressure to be sexy in Hollywood?

I don’t feel any pressure to go out and make poor decisions, and I think it’s very sad when we look at these icons that young girls look up to, and the decisions that they make are just atrocious. I went through my rebellious phase as a teenager, but I feel like I’ve grown out of that a bit, and I’m very thankful that I have a better head on my shoulders now. If I had gotten “Switched at Birth” like five years ago, maybe I would have felt that pressure, but right now, I’m going through my day to day and I just feel happy.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Scarlett Johansson: “I guess I’m the reluctant action…

We’re always told that the brain is the most complex instrument in the world and new movie “Lucy” proves just why it’s such a force…

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

Movies

Piano from 'Casablanca' up for sale at auction

An iconic piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…