SINGAPORE - The spotlight is on her weight again. But this time, veteran MediaCorp actress Chen Liping does not mind it one bit.
The 47-year-old, who is lifestyle and wellness group Mary Chia's new celebrity ambassador, told The New Paper on Wednesday: "To me, health is the most important. Over the past few months, I've seen some of my colleagues battle health issues, and it made me want to lose weight and be healthier."
However, she also has her restrictions when it comes to her slimming programme - no oral medication and no skin products.
Over a decade ago, Chen had controversially consumed Slim 10 diet pills in her bid to lose weight.
Her actor-husband Rayson Tan even sold the same pills to fellow actress Andrea de Cruz. De Cruz subsequently suffered from liver failure after taking them and the incident snowballed, landing the parties in court.
Alluding to the incident, Chen said: "I don't live in the shadow of it anymore, but my number one condition for taking up this slimming programme is that I will not take any pills."
She added: "I have very sensitive skin as well, so I requested not to apply unknown skin products."
And the programme seems to have worked. She went from 73kg to 67kg in three weeks. Chen is 1.65m-tall.
Chen, who has been in the industry for close to 30 years, is now starring in the Channel 8 drama The Dream Makers, playing a senior executive in a television station.
She revealed that she was at her heaviest - 75kg - when she was filming the show earlier this year.
She said: "I felt helpless and upset when watching myself on TV and would think to myself: 'Why was the lighting so bad? Why was this scene filmed at such a bad angle? Why did the director make me look so fat on screen?'"
"I was always finding excuses for myself, rather than thinking that I was the one who needed to lose weight."
Chen's appearance also drew criticism from her 11-year-old son Xavier's classmates, who told him"your mother is very fat".
She said: "He's used to such comments, and he would always ask me not to eat so much. Kids are usually very direct, and it doesn't help that TV made me look fatter."
She explained that she did not have much motivation to lose weight over the years as she has a loving husband and very supportive fans who do not mind her being plus-sized.
However, she has her low moments too, especially when stylists tell her that they cannot find clothes her size.
She said: "I wore loose clothes in The Dream Makers as there weren't many choices. I felt like I should be wearing tighter, classier clothes as I was portraying a senior (executive) in the show, but I couldn't wear those."
Now that she is en route to a slimmer body, Chen wants to don sporty outfits on the small screen.
"I can play a sports coach more convincingly with my new figure, and I can wear sporty shorts and skirts," she said.
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