It's been an amazing summer for actress Katie Leclerc.
Her show, "Switched at Birth," scored the highest-rated premiere ever on ABC Family.
And just last week, Leclerc grabbed a Choice Breakout Star nomination for the 2011 Teen Choice Awards ("Switched at Birth" was also nominated for Choice Summer TV Show).
TooFab chatted with the 24-year-old about her role as deaf teen Daphne Vasquez. Leclerc, who was diagnosed with Meniere's disease at age 20 and is hard of hearing, discussed the challenges of her role and the strong bond she's made with her castmates. Oh, she revealed her Hollywood crush to us as well!
Check out the interview below:
TooFab: What was the audition process like for the role of Daphne?
Leclerc: They had a nationwide casting call for the roles of Daphne and Emmett. This is a very important role for the deaf community and the producers really wanted to give equal opportunity to anyone who felt like they could do it. I found out about the audition through my agent and went in to see BB Bradley the casting director, had my first audition, had my call-back and then my screen-test. It was down to me and another girl and I feel so lucky and so happy, it really is a dream come true for me.
TooFab: What are the biggest similarities and differences between you and Daphne?
When I first read the script I fell in love with Daphne immediately because she has had to struggle so much and overcome so much. I was bullied when I was a kid and Daphne was bullied because kids can just be mean and afraid of what they don't know. Daphne has this great relationship with her mother and I have a very strong relationship with my own mother.
I feel like I have almost been preparing for this role my entire life, I mean, I started to sign when I was 17 and I found out when I was 20 that I had Meniere's disease. It's very serendipitous the way it has all worked out. As far as the differences go, Daphne is very mature for her age but I'm older; I'm 24 and it's sometimes harder to revert back to high school and to react in a more annoying way than I'd like to think my personal reaction would be.
TooFab: Who are you closest to in the cast?
LeClerc: It's hard to say because we have sort of become this family. We all went over to Lucas Grabeel's [Toby Kennish] house to watch the premiere. The other night we were shooting until 1:30 in the morning and Vanessa Marano [Bay Kennish] and I were very tired. So we decided to talk to each other on the way home to make sure we didn't fall asleep.
TooFab: Are you dating anyone?
Leclerc: I am, I have a boyfriend with who I am madly in love with. We've been together for nearly a year-and-a-half and he's fantastic!
TooFab: Is he in the business?
Leclerc: He is. He was an agent for a long time and he definitely understands the grueling hours we go through. He's very supportive. I've never been in a more happy place in my life with everything I'm going through and he's a part of that.
TooFab: And who is your Hollywood crush?
Leclerc: Well, I have two answers to that. I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is irresistible, and Patrick Fugit who's a little less commonly known.
TooFab: Oh, he's in "Saved!"
Leclerc: Yes! You're the first person who knew who he was, I love him!
Tune into ABC Family Monday nights to see Katie in "Switched at Birth."