‘Switched at Birth’ Star Katie Leclerc Talks About Real-Life Disorder That Led to Breakout Role

Switched at Birth had the biggest premiere in the history of ABC Family — thanks in part to breakout star Katie Leclerc, who’s own hearing disorder helped her secure the role of Daphne. 

Celebuzz talks to the young star about her personal struggles and success through diversity.

What got you into acting?
When I was in 7th grade I was Annie in Annie and fell in love with the stage, and the lights and the applause. Later, I was living in San Diego and I heard an ad on the radio and begged my mom to take me in for an audition. From there I got a manager and an agent and worked for about 10 years before being cast in Switched at Birth.

How long have you known sign language and was it difficult to learn?
I learned ASL at 17 as a high school elective. For me, it wasn’t incredibly difficult. It sort of just clicked right away.

Can you explain Meniere’s disease and give our readers some insight about it?
Menieres is a genetic disorder and causes the inner ear to retain fluid. There are four main symptoms. Ringing in the ear, pressure in the ear, fluctuating hearing loss, and vertigo. There are times when it’s very challenging to work through the symptoms but for me, it’s hard to complain, because without it, I wouldn’t have this job.

What is some of the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Before a big acting competition, my dad sent a fruit basket to my hotel room with a card that said “define the moment, don’t let the moment define you.” I still have the card.

Everybody has bad days, how do you get over yours?
By reminding myself that it can always be worse and that I’ve been through worse.

What are your favorite TV shows?
Fringe, Breaking Bad, Community, and classics like Freaks and Geeks and Arrested Development.

Do you have any celebrity crushes?
I don’t see how people can help to be in love with Joseph Gordon Levett.

What would you like to say to all the people who tuned into the show, making it such a huge success?
Thanks for watching – and hold on to your hats because we’ve got a lot more in store this season!

Catch Switched at Birth Monday nights on ABC Family.