Can you tell us something we don’t already know about Vanessa Marano, the beautiful star of the ABC Family series “Switched at Birth”?
—Donald Trausneck, Woodlawn, Va.
For her role as Bay Kennish on “Switched at Birth,” Vanessa Marano, 20, actually has been learning American Sign Language—and she is getting good at it. According to the ASL master with whom she studies, she is currently at what would be considered an ASL 2 level if she were taking it as a college course.
“I am not fluent by any means, but I have gotten better, which is nice,” she says. “What is fun about it is when you finally get to that point that you can put sentences together, you can have secret conversations.”
In addition to “Switched at Birth,” Marano is most recognized for her roles as April, the daughter of Luke, in “Gilmore Girls,” and as Francesca, the stepdaughter of Lisa Kudrow’s character in “The Comeback.”
The native of Los Angeles, Calif., began acting when she was 7 years old, performing in a variety of plays at the Agoura Children’s Theatre in Agoura Hills, Calif., which is owned by her mother, Ellen Marano. She began her professional career by appearing in several national commercials and by modeling in magazines.
She starred in the series “Scoundrels” and has had recurring roles in “Dexter,” “Without a Trace” [in which her real-life sister Laura played her on-screen sister], “Medium,” “Trust Me” and “The Young and the Restless.” Her guest-starring credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Parenthood,” “Medium,” “Love Bites,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Past Life,” “Six Feet Under,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Grounded for Life.”
In addition, she starred in the TV movies “Restless Virgins” and “The Brooke Ellison Story,” as well as the miniseries “Marry Me.”
Her first film role was doing a voice for the animated hit “Finding Nemo,” followed by the independent films “Easy,” “The Clique,” “Stopping Power,” “Dear Lemon Lima,” and most recently “The Secret Lives of Dorks.”
Marano, who was born on Halloween, speaks Italian and serves as an ambassador for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.