Cover Story: Interview with Vanessa Marano

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Cliché: Having started your acting career at such a young age, are you accustomed to the fast pace, or does it still feel overwhelming?
Vanessa Marano: You definitely get used to it. What’s hard about the business is the fact that it’s always switching on you. It goes from fast paced to slow paced, then back to fast paced without any warning at all. There’s really no middle speed.

Is there anything that you regret missing out on due to your demanding career?
I totally missed out on a lot. Things like typical social schooling experiences–prom, grad night, etc. A lot of child actors look back on that time in their lives with regret; however, I’ve never felt I missed out on anything. I don’t regret a single choice I made regarding my career. I didn’t have a normal childhood and I loved every second of it. Not only did it greatly affect my professional life for the better, but it also highlighted the aspects of my personal life which were truly important to me: my friends who put up with my hectic schedule, the education I received by entering college at the age of fourteen, and my love of every single detail involved in filmmaking.

Who are some actors that you admired growing up?
I’m a big Helen Mirren fan. I’m kind of obsessed with her.

When you’re not on the set of Switched at Birth, how do you like to spend your free time?
Sleep. I love to catch up on my sleep. Other than that, I try to take a course whenever I’m not working.

Are you close with any of your cast mates off-screen?
Oh, we have a massive amount of love for each other. I adore them all. Katie and I can get particularly giddy with each other.

The show’s regular use of American Sign Language is pretty incredible. Did you know how to sign before you were cast for the role or is it something that you learn as you go?
I knew absolutely no sign language. I had never met a deaf person before Switched at Birth. Our show owes so much of its success to the incredible support of the deaf community. I’m so thankful for them. They’ve been so welcoming and have certainly aided in my ever-evolving knowledge of ASL.