Profile Vanessa Marano
After starting her career playing a nerd on the Gilmore Girls, this star is now enjoying being the rock chick with a string of cute co-stars, writes Anooska Tucker-Evans.
WHEN Vanessa Marano took the role on FOX8 series Switched At Birth she not only had to learn her lines but also another language.
The series follows two teenage girls – Bay (Marano) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc) – who discover they were switched at birth and must get to know their biological families. Making the situation even more complicated is that Daphne is deaf.
‘‘I didn’t realise how innovative and different the show was until I did the table read and saw sign language being used and that was incredible,’’ Marano says. Sign language is a prominent part of the production with Daphne and her mother, Regina (Constance Marie) both communicating fluently in it.
While Leclerc already knew sign language going into the part, Marano was made to learn on set.
‘‘I was not expecting that to happen,’’ she says. ‘‘During the first two episodes my character did not know sign language and then about episode six they (the producers) were like, ‘Oh Vanessa, you’re going to be learning sign language now’, and I was like, ‘What?’.’’
And it was far from easy, Marano admits, despite having a team of sign language masters on set.
‘‘What was nice about it, though, is that my character was learning so I could be as awkward and uncomfortable as I am in real life with it,’’ she says with a laugh.
While learning sign has been difficult, easing the actress’s pain has been the endless parade of boys her character gets to date.
As a tough, alternative rock chick with a cool exterior, Bay is a favourite with the blokes, which means Marano gets to kiss plenty of her co-stars.
‘‘Life’s hard sometimes but I power through,’’ Marano laughs.
‘‘My character goes through the boys pretty quickly. But that’s the thing, it’s a family show but it’s also a mother-daughter show and mothers and daughters, and females in general, if we can keep the good looking men coming, then why not?’’
Playing a sexy teenager, who’s a hit with the gents has also been a nice change for the actress, who is probably best known for playing the dorky daughter of diner owner Luke in hit series Gilmore Girls.
‘‘For the auditions for Gilmore Girls they described the character as ‘quirky’ so I went to a pharmacy and bought these red glasses that were really dorky and I got an awful sweater and ratted my hair out and put it in a ponytail and they hired me for that, which was great. I created a character which was so cool to be able to do.’’
It was extra special for the young actress as the show was also her favourite.
‘‘I loved that show. I literally got on that set and ran around with a camera and started taking pictures of Stars Hollow every time they yelled cut,’’ she says. ‘‘I was so excited to be there.’’
But playing the resident nerd was a blessing and a curse, with the actress stereotyped as a dork for almost her entire adolescence. Not that she minded much, though.
‘‘I will be whatever anybody wants me to be,’’ she says. ‘‘If they want me to be glamorous, aces. If they want me to be disgusting, I will do that too.’’
Her new gig also has its perks though. ‘‘The most fantastic thing about this show is that everyone gets along and that’s just so nice,’’ she says.
‘‘I’ve been on shows where people didn’t really get along, I’ve been on shows where people hated each other, I’ve been on shows where people have adored each other.
‘‘It’s nice to be doing a show that is doing well and that people are enjoying, but to actually enjoy going to work . . . I’m so thankful I’m on a show that I enjoy the company of everyone I work with.’’