Besides the fact that both suffer from different degrees of hearing loss, they also both have trouble asking others for help.
When the show returns to ABC Family Monday at 8 p.m., Leclerc’s character, Daphne, seems to be doing well on a job interview – until the woman questioning her realizes she’s deaf.
Daphne’s gone on a dozen interviews and once her hearing impairment is out, “it’s over,” as she says.
Her biological mom has connections that could help, but it’s a struggle for Daphne to actually reach out.
Leclerc has the same problem.
“I’m a terrible help asker for-er!” she laughs. “I have a lot of similarities to Daphne. I really relate to her in a lot of ways and that’s definitely one of them.”
The show revolves around two young women who were switched at birth, Daphne, and Bay (Vanessa Marano). Daphne lost her hearing as a young child from meningitis.
Leclerc, 25, has inconsistent instances of hearing loss, due to an inner ear disorder called Ménière’s disease. But she actually learned sign language at 17, before she was affected.
“I had to have a foreign language and my school offered Spanish, French and sign language,” she says. “I found out very quickly that I sucked at Spanish. I just thought I’d give it a shot.
“I never dreamed then that it would turn into the opportunity to be Daphne.”
Talking with the “deaf accent” she needed for the show was a bit more challenging. Leclerc and her sister, who’s a sign-language teacher, mapped out Daphne’s hearing loss on an audiogram to figure out what sounds she could pronounce and what sounds she couldn’t.
“Then from there, I made everybody in my life absolutely crazy, because I would have to practice the voice, Leclerc says. “I would do it nonstop, so my trouper of a boyfriend stuck it through with me and it paid off in the end.
“The most touching stuff that I get from fans on Twitter,” Leclerc says, “is stuff like, I never had a relationship with my deaf cousin. Because of the show, I’ve learned sign language and now we’re friends.”
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