The summer premiere of Switched at Birth aired last Monday and shocked viewers with an unexpected pregnancy and financial problems for the Kennish family.
CelebSecrets4U spoke with Katie Leclerc, who plays Daphne Vasquez on the show, to find out more about what we can expect from this half of the season.
“The family struggle right now is real,” says Leclerc. “It’s real in the sense that it’s a looming thing for the family, but the storyline is something that I’ve dealt with in my personal life and I know it’s a very tough subject for a lot of families to deal with. So, Daphne’s really there to be as supportive to the family as she can be and I think that comes in many different ways. She’s there physically with her family, but also just sending good vibes and positivity towards them.
In our interview, Katie also talks about how we will see Daphne develop throughout the second half of the season, her favorite relationship of Daphne’s and what she does in her spare time.
In tonight’s episode, Bay decides to refocus her energy on school and signs up for a Spanish class, only to discover that the new harassment policy has put her in the spotlight. John finds himself under serious financial strain as Kathryn makes plans to produce her musical herself. Meanwhile, Daphne learns that her D in Chemistry will affect her scholarship and she starts having doubts about her compatibility with Mingo.
Switched at Birth airs Monday, August 31st at 8PM ET/PT on ABC Family.
Make sure to read our Q&A with Katie below and check out some clips and stills from tonight’s episode.
CS4U: How do we see Bay and Daphne, along with the rest of the blended family’s relationship, develop and change in the second half of this season?
Katie Leclerc: The heart of the show has always been Bay and Daphne and when Daphne had her downward spiral, her family really jumped in and saved the day for Daphne in a huge way. I think Daphne is still feeling guilt from that and sometimes guilt is bad and sometimes guilt is a huge motivator. So for Daphne, having so much at stake and having her family really risk their livelihood for her, it puts her in a place where she is highly motivated for school and to become a doctor.
Her pre-med quest is really fueled by the love of her family and the fact that she doesn’t want to disappoint them again. Pre-med’s super hard regardless of whether you’re deaf or not, so for Daphne, I think, the big challenge this season and the way that Bay and Daphne’s relationship changes is Daphne comes to the realization that she can do it and it’s going to be a struggle, but she’s always got Bay there supporting her and always behind her.
CS4U: What would you say has been the biggest change for Daphne over the course of these seasons?
Katie Leclerc: I think there’s been some pretty large changes for her. I was about to say switches, but I guess that wouldn’t really apply. I think when she had her food truck and she and Travis were robbed, I think that was an incredibly life-changing experience for her. She’s become more guarded and more protective and also sees some of what the evil in this world can—the damage that that can do.
I think before that, she grew up maybe in a rough neighborhood, but she was never part of the violence. So, I think that was a huge thing, but then also, having that person return and having her treat that person, based on a doctor’s code; I think that was really full-circle for her in a big way. It created the space for her to have the confidence to do the job regardless of what was in front of her.
In a similar way, I would say when Sharee’s mom stabbed the head doctor at the clinic, [Dr. Jackson], and she punctured the lungs so the air could get into his lung, I think that was also a really big shift for her. It’s another example of just, you know, whether you’re deaf or hearing, there’re challenges and you can’t let you own challenges get in the way of what has to be done.
Daphne’s really realized that over the course of the four years. She’s never been one to back down, ever. That’s one of my favorite things about this character. She’s strong in every single way possible. I think as she grows, that really becomes solidified in her and her confidence gets even stronger.
CS4U: What has been your favorite relationship of Daphne’s?
Katie Leclerc: If you’d asked me last season, I would have to say my favorite relationship was with Wilkie for Daphne. Wilkie was super supportive and definitely didn’t have ulterior motives like say, Jace did. Daphne kind of falls into this pitfall of guys that aren’t necessarily looking out for her.
Mingo, though, is totally on Daphne’s side and I love Mingo for Daphne. He pushes her and motivates her in ways that none of her previous boyfriends have and he’s really good and I like that we didn’t know whether they were going to be friends or enemies at first. They definitely have each other’s back and I think it’s a really beautiful relationship.
CS4U: What is it like for you changing courses with Daphne and she and Mingo being that new stable couple?
Katie Leclerc: I cannot tell you how happy I am that Daphne has a solid boyfriend. She’s always been a bit boy crazy. ABC Family is no stranger to having some hunky eye-candy dudes around. Adam Hagenbuch is a wonderful actor, a great human being, super hilarious. I really enjoy having scenes with him and just talking about films. We’ve really bonded. We’ve really become close friends and I really love Adam.
It’s been really great for Daphne to have a stable boyfriend and to see what she’s like in a solid relationship. You know what I mean? She’s not bouncing around from thing to thing, she’s really grounded and she really knows what she wants and has it right now. It’s been really nice to let Daphne settle a little bit.
CS4U: How does Daphne feel about Regina’s relationship with Eric and are there going to be any issues with Regina trying to balance her time between these different families?
Katie Leclerc: Well, you know, I think the first time that Daphne saw Regina with Eric was a challenge. We saw that happen onscreen, so that was a fun moment to play. There’s a natural grownup-ness about Daphne now that she’s matured a lot and she wants her mom to be happy in whatever way that Regina is pursuing that happiness.
Now that Daphne’s in college and living in the dorms, it’s natural for Regina to feel like the “empty-nester.” The fact that Regina isn’t really experiencing that because she has the coffee shop to keep her occupied and to keep her busy and Eric and Will as well, is a really good thing for Regina as a character. I think Daphne’s totally supportive of it, but mostly because Daphne’s also wrapped up in her own world.
CS4U: Can you tell us anything about the rumors of a character returning to the show?
Katie Leclerc: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say who it is or not, but the fact that you don’t know who it is makes me feel like I don’t think I can [laughs]. Oh shoot. I actually think I Instagrammed a photo of this person, so I don’t think it’s a huge reveal, but Daphne has made some enemies over the past four seasons. Maybe not necessarily enemies, because this person is in a position of power and Daphne was a teenager at the time. Daphne doesn’t have any direct interaction with this character, but Bay does. So, Bay’s malice towards him is definitely palatable, but our girl Bay has a way of getting her way, so I wouldn’t worry about it too, too much.
CS4U: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Katie Leclerc: My husband and I have two dogs that we are just totally in love with, so we spend a lot of time with the dogs. I am a wonderful cook, if I do say so myself, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen as well. I’m always trying to come up with something new to cook. Not so long ago it was macaroons. I had this lofty idea that I could make macaroons and they worked once, but then the next five attempts they didn’t work, so it was torture [laughs].
I’m always trying to find something to do that’s creative, outside of acting, but my goal every hiatus is to book a job. As much as I can, I just want to keep working. I feel like I’ve been blessed to have such a huge launch pad and such a great opportunity that I’m just trying to take advantage of it as much as I can.
Photos: Beth Dubber/ABC Family