After a season’s worth of emotional turmoil involving newly found families, absentee fathers and a seemingly never-ending revolving door of boyfriends, you’d think SWITCHED AT BIRTH’s Daphne would of all people deserve a break. Unfortunately for our heroine, television demands two things: Drama and eye candy. Which is precisely why it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that when the hit ABC family drama returns for the tail end of its freshman season on Monday September 3 at 8PM, it brings with it the perfect mix of both. For specifics, we recently caught up with the delightful Daphne herself, star Katie Leclerc to preview what challenges lie ahead for her character on both the home and professional fronts.
This past season saw your character Daphne say goodbye to Wilke whose real-life alter-ego Austin Butler signed on to The CW’s CARRIE DIARIES. How do you feel about the end of Daphne and Wilke, and what does not being in a relationship free Daphne up for?
Katie Leclerc: I loved Wilke and Daphne together, I could see huge potential for that relationship, also I love Austin Butler so maybe I’m a little bias! But I think that it’s good because Daphne is not a stranger to proving herself in relationships, romantic or otherwise. And in this next eight episodes, she finds someone that she wants to pursue and I think it’s really good for that character to actively be looking for something that maybe isn’t necessarily completely in her reach. She is a survivor, she fights for what she wants and usually ends up getting it, so the arc to get her there is really interesting. As we start the season, Daphne finds a restaurant owner that is willing to work with her to a certain extent. Her biggest goal being that she isn’t in a relationship is to get a job and I think it’s a fascinating conversation that SWITCHED AT BIRTH talks about: Whether or not having a deaf person in a restaurant kitchen is a liability.
Working in this restaurant owner’s favor is that he’s fairly easy on the eyes! How might that come into play?
Well she’s always got her eyes open and as the season continues she gets involved in a relationship that raises eyebrows and is very questionable. I was really surprised at the direction we took that character and how the relationship/friendship between Chef [KNIGHT RIDER's Justin Bruening] and Daphne grows. It gets really steamy really quickly! They hide it in the restaurant, but for the most part Daphne goes after it with everything she has with all of her heart.
Adding to Daphne’s complicated love life is her equally complex home-life. How will having father Angelo stick around affect her?
Angelo is around for a while and she’ll tolerate him for as long as he decides to stay for the benefit of Bay and for the benefit of Regina, but it really is a sacrifice on her part. On the plus side, I think that Bay recognizes that Daphne is giving up so much of herself to allow Angelo to be around, so she gains and ally and a friend in Bay who become much more friendly in the next batch of episodes. Of course, Daphne has a huge distraction in the restaurant and ends up spending a lot of time in the kitchen to get away from the drama.
Speaking of Bay, I have to ask if there is any hope for her and Emmett?
The problem with Bay is that she literally ran away and didn’t deal with anything, she left Kansas City and went to study in the Galapagos islands. So when she returns she has to deal with the fallout from Emmett cheating. They need time, if they’re ever going to get back together, they need time.
And finally, it’s been quite a roller coaster for the show this summer winning both the Television Critics Association “Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming” and a second season renewal from ABC Family. Looking back during the pilot shoot for the show, did you ever imagine how well things would work out for you?
I could hope but no, I never did. I was an actor for ten years before I got SWITCHED AT BIRTH, so just getting the pilot was huge. It was the biggest thing I had done up until that point and it still is. It is amazing the scope of the fans that we can reach and the way that the writers really put this package together is done in a way that’s accessible, not preachy but opens your eyes to a different definition of family which I think is a beautiful thing. And on top of that, we get to pepper in this deaf culture stuff which I love so much. I love the silent scenes, the opportunity to represent a culture that’s really never been seen this way before, it’s really special.
SWITCHED AT BIRTH airs Mondays at 8PM on ABC Family (ABC Spark in Canada). Catch up with past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv