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OTRC: Katie Leclerc talks 'Switched at Birth,' the cast and her hearing disorder (Q&A)

Katie Leclerc talks about the ABC Family series 'Switched at Birth' in an interview with OnTheTheRedCarpet.com on August 14, 2012. (OTRC)

Katie Leclerc, star of ABC Family's hit series "Switched at Birth," talked to OnTheRedCarpet.com about her emotional connection to her role, the cast's amazing chemistry and what to expect from the end of season one.

"We're stoked because we have worked really hard on our first season, and this is the third part of our first season, so we finally get to say this first season finale at the end of this eighth episode," the actress gushed to OnTheRedCarpet.com correspondent Tony Cabrera. "Hopefully we get our second season, but for right now everybody is just so excited - there's a lot of questions, there's a a lot of turmoil in some people's lives, and we're excited to share it."

Leclerc, 25, portrays a deaf character, Daphne Vasquez. In her own life, the actress has Meniere's Disease, an incurable ailment that causes hearing loss.

The family drama, which aired in June 2011, tells the story of two girls who discover that they were accidentally switched at birth. The teenagers lead very different lives, one having grown up in a wealthy household while the other, who lost her hearing as a child, grew up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood. Leclerc's co-star, Vanessa Marano, plays Bay Kennish.

"Switched At Birth" resumes its debut season after a summer hiatus on September 3 at 8 p.m. ET.

See what else LeClerc had to say about the upcoming season of the hit series, as well as more about her personal experience with Meniere's Disease.


You must be counting down the days to what, September 3?

Yes, September 3rd! I think it's like 21 days at this point? Probably not when you air this, but it's fast approaching and I'm so excited.

How's the energy with the cast mates and everything as it leads up to the second season?

We're stoked because we have worked really hard on our first season, and this is the third part of our first season, so we finally get to say this first season finale, at the end of this eighth episode, and hopefully we get our second season, but for right now everybody is just so excited - there's a lot of questions, a lot of turmoil in some people's lives, and we're just excited to share it.

Where are you production wise right now?

We're done filming, we've been done filming for just over a month now. We're just kind of laying low, everybody's sort of relaxed, and we're excited to start seeing each other again. Vanessa and I just did a promote shoot, and it was a giggle fest, the whole time. We love each other, so, we hadn't seen each other for a month - we ran to each other from across the parking lot. The music swelled. It was a beautiful moment. It is so much fun, we love each other - genuinely, really love each other. And love to tease each other too, so there's always fun in that.

And it helps that you're the number one show on ABC Family, right?

Yes! We are so excited and so proud and so thankful for our fans. That's really what it's all about. For me, being able to be on a show where the deaf culture is sort of the central story line is really important because I feel like a lot of American's really haven't been exposed to the deaf culture in a large way. So this is a great opportunity to have a lot of fun with friends and cast mates and do what I really dreamt of doing since I was 8 years old and at the same time bring a good message to the viewers, so it's a win, win, win.

Speaking of the deaf community, they're all about this show and especially because of you. Don't you have a personal connection to this?

When I was 17, I was in high school and I needed a foreign language to graduate, so I chose American Sign Language. Later, I found out I have something called Meniere's disease, which is a problem with fluid retention in the inner ear so you get fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear, pressure in the ear and attacks of vertigo. It affects like 3 million Americans, but nobody has ever really heard of it. So for me, to be able to show my story at the same time and kind of get Meniere's disease on the map, and get to be Daphne on "Switched at Birth," is like, the best. It's so fantastic.

You knew sign language going into this - how about everyone else in the cast?

The great thing about 'Switched At Birth' is that everyone is so excited about the sign language, specifically. Even the crew members, the camera operators, are learning to sign.

Let's talk about the season. So, the last episode everybody saw, so much drama, right?

Spoiler alert!

Coming up in the next season we have some reconciliation, and some time has passed since the mistake happened. We catch up sort of at the end of Summer and Daphne's trying to get a job ... and she has this new love interest that she's really excited about, and I'm really excited about, there's a little more love triangle situation kind of happening.Wilke, sadly, I think has moved on to the boarding school. But there's always possibilities. But if the fans really love Wilke, maybe they'll bring him back.

Reporting by Tony Cabrera, correspondent for of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

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