'Switched at Birth': Vanessa Marano previews a 'rough' senior year at Carlton in Season 3

vanessa-marano-interview-switched-at-birth-abc-family.jpgWhen "Switched at Birth" returns to ABC Family for Season 3 on Monday (Jan. 13), Bay ( Vanessa Marano) and Daphne ( Katie Leclerc) will be entering into senior year at Carlton following their Season 2 fight to keep the academy for the deaf open. Only, the place will be looking and feeling quite different with an influx of new  hearing students.

Zap2it had to chance to speak with Marano ahead of the premiere, where she shed some light on just what's in store for the school. "Carlton is gonna be rough," she says with a laugh. "There [are] a lot of new people entering the school and they are not necessarily from the easiest-going of neighborhoods and it is definitely a situation that Bay most certainly is not used to because little miss Bay grew up a princess in a mansion and she's never been exposed to that environment before, so it's definitely very different for her."

Bay won't be the only one struggling. "I think it's even different for Daphne," Marano says of her sort-of sister. "Like, Daphne had grown up in not the best part of town, but still she never hung out with the screw-up kids, you know what I mean? Everybody who Daphne hung out with, even though they didn't grow up with a lot of privilege, they still were like good kids who did well in school and didn't get into fights in the middle of class, and now, all of a sudden, those are the kids that they're associated with."

Of course, school won't be the only issue facing Bay this season. Season 2 ended with Ty leaving for his deployment, making Bay believe he'd cheated on her -- something she'll still be struggling with as we pick back up. "Bay is not feeling so hot because she's been cheated on for what she believes is the third time and she definitely is not in a great place," Marano says. "But all the more better for her to distract herself with the thing that she loves more than anything, which is art."

So, she finds her way into a college art course, allowing the show to bring in guest stars Sandra Bernhard ("Roseanne") as her teacher and Max Adler ("Glee") as the frat guy she gets partnered up with. "And that's kind of been cool to get a lot of great guest stars this season," Marano admits. "We have a very guest star-centric season which is cool to see how our characters, who we've been living with and creating for three years now, how they work off of different people."

And for those out there who still 'ship Bay and Emmett ( Sean Berdy), that romance isn't dead, no matter how much she's still hung up on Ty. "There's a pretty prominent kiss that happens this season that, obviously a kiss provides a lot of hope for a lot of people," Marano reveals. "It comes from a place of -- she's been leaning on him for so long and all of a sudden, he may not be there for her. He's been waiting for her for so long, the fact that he may not be waiting anymore gives her a sort of head trip and she has to figure out, 'Oh God, alright ... Is this something I want to pursue?'"

As for last season's other most dramatic storyline (Daphne blackmailing Senator Coto), Marano says Season 3 will find the Kenish-Vazquez household won't be handling the aftermath "well at all."

"Daphne was always the kid that everyone could rely on, you know? She was the perfect child and now all of a sudden, she royally messed up," she continues. "And she's kind of the new Bay in that sense. That's usually Bay's area, and Daphne's completely taken it over. So, she starts doing community service at this clinic, where we get to -- like I said, a season of great guest stars -- RJ Mitte of 'Breaking Bad' is going to be guest-starring this season, and he gets to interact with Daphne."

Mitte's character, Campbell, bring another unique perspective to a show that's already been revolutionary in its portrayal of the deaf community. "He's in a wheelchair," Marano says, "so we get to see this character who's suffering from a spinal cord injury and we get this other character who's been deaf her whole life interacting with each other and it's kind of cool to see two different people with two different challenges going on in their life that doesn't affect them in the way that you think it would affect them. They're definitely not 'woe is me' about anything and that's really cool to see. And that's something that our show really tries to put out there."

"Switched at Birth" returns for Season 3 on Monday (Jan. 13) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.
Photo/Video credit: ABC Family
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