Vanessa Marano stars in the Freeform original series ‘Switched At Birth’ airing Tuesday’s at 9/8c. As we close out the first month of the new year, Switched will begin their final season. Bay Kennish, portrayed by Marano has evolved on many levels. This season is full of answers some have been searching for, including Bay’s love life. While we are hoping Bay will finally have closure with Emmett and find her place, Marano reveals “Those are questions that inform a lot of what happens in the first episode back as well as the 100th episode.”
Vanessa believes that Bay has grown a lot since the series first season on air. “She's a rather angsty spoiled self involved character when we first meet her. Now, she is far from that. Many experiences throughout the series shape her into who she is now.” From the initial switch, her relationship with her new sister Daphne, to her boyfriend Emmett cheating on her. Bay has experienced things even adults would have have trouble dealing with. “I think what she takes away from all of them though is acceptance. Acceptance that the experiences we go through become a part of our story and change us. We define if it's for better or for worse.” With this final season about to begin, Vanessa reveals that Bay will finally come into her own as an adult. “This is the time where she decides the life she wants, the career she wants, the relationship she wants, and all the sacrifices that come with those decisions.”
This series has touched upon numerous sensitive subjects that you rarely hear about on television. One of the biggest shocks of the series was when Bay was sexually assaulted by one of her former boyfriends, Tank. Marano reveals that one of the most challenging parts of covering subjects like this is being careful with the message the series is trying to get across. “Specifically with our storyline, no one is the hero and no one is the bad guy. Women have fought for years to educate people that, no matter what the circumstances, sexual assault is wrong. There is no excuse. I firmly believe that, and I'm proud to live in a day and age where women can use their voice, stand together, and let the world no that there is no excuse.” Marano shares that she was nervous to see the audience’s response to the issue. Vanessa said it was wonderful that the storyline truly showed how intellectual the audience of Switched is. “They received a message about a very serious subject where there was no clear answer and the discussions they had were classy and thoughtful and compassionate and informed. I applaud our audience for that. Above all, there is no solution without discussion.”
“I think what people expect to happen when you "overcome" something is that you "get over it." That's not the case at all. To overcome something, is to come out on the other side stronger no matter how much it still affects you. The bottomline is that, you never get over something like that. It stays with you forever, it becomes a part of you. But despite that, you survived. You are a survivor and that is something that no one can take away from you. Some days are harder than others, but that doesn't mean that you are weak. The vert fact that you pick yourself up and pursue happiness means that you are strong. That's the case with Bay.” Last season ended quite abruptly with Bay and Daphne in China. With an unexpected twist ahead, Vanessa reveals that she is looking forward to the fans finding out why the girls are still in China as well as why they are coming back home so suddenly. “I don't know if it's something to look forward to right away, but it pays off as we approach the series finale.” It has been a rocky road for the Kennish/Vasquez Family. Despite all of the situations that occured over the years, Marano shares that this is the first time we see them come together as a “real legitimate family”.
While it has been an incredible ride up to this point, Vanessa shares that being on set is a lot of fun. “It is really a fun group and supportive group to be around. The saddest thing for me when it comes to the show ending is that I don't get to see them everyday.” Marano also reveals that she is going to miss the people she works with the most. One of Vanessa’s biggest tasks with taking on this role was learning ASL (American Sign Language). “Its not that often that you get to leave a job with a new skill.” After five years of filming Switched at Birth, Vanessa has grown in numerous ways. “Well, I think you learn and grow with every job you get. One thing I got that is unique specifically to SAB is sign language. I got the opportunity to learn another language, which is pretty cool. In a weird way I feel like having so many scenes in sign language helped me grow as an actor because I was performing lines in a format I had never experienced before. Now when I do scenes without sign language, I can still feel it's influence over my performance.”
There is no doubt that Switched at Birth has changed the television game. Vanessa shares Switch at Birth highlighted that is doesn’t matter if you’re blood or friends, your family is who you treasure and love. “I want the audience to take that away. That and how wonderful the deaf community is.” Vanessa shared that the deaf community is such a beautiful culture she was privileged to learn about because of this show. “We're all different but our differences make us who we are, and no one should silence us from sharing our wonderful differences with the world. I hope our audience takes that away.”