Ris Low won't let weight get her down

SINGAPORE - Chubby cheeks. Flabby arms. Thick waistline.

These are the nightmares of most weight-watching women, let alone beauty pageant contestants.

Ris Low, however, boasts all of the above - and she carries her extra pounds with a wide, radiant smile.

The New Paper met the 23-year-old dethroned Miss World Singapore yesterday to talk about her debut lead role in local slasher flick Justice Devil.

Truth be told, she was the plumpest this reporter has seen her over the course of five years.

"I've put on 5kg since January. At my heaviest, I was 68kg and right now, I'm about 65kg," said the 1.72m-tall personality.

Low attributes her visible weight gain to the "late nights" she puts in regularly as part of her new job.

In April, she started work as a full-time waitress-cum-bar staff at T-ARA Cosplay Bar & Cafe, a pub at Boat Quay.

From Facebook pictures she posted showing her on the job, she has dressed up as a nurse, a student and an army officer among other cosplay outfits.

"All the good food there has made me (fat)," she said, adding that her working hours are 4pm to 1am.

"The drinking too?" I asked, to which she replied with a knowing nod and grin.

Low's current pudgy frame is a far cry from the sexy, svelte figure she sported in 2010. Back then, she was 58kg and even came in at No. 56 on FHM Singapore's annual list of 100 Sexiest Women In The World 2010, beating Hollywood actresses Eva Longoria (No. 57) and Milla Jovovich (No. 58).

These days, Low has been panned by netizens for being on the wrong side of the weighing scale.

After the trailer of Justice Devil made its way onto YouTube last week, most comments were directed at her flab instead of her acting ability.

Ironically, the film was shot between September and December last year, when she was still about 60kg.

"I can't be bothered by what people say about my weight," said Low.

"Being healthy is what's most important. I feel very healthy now... Anyway, being fat doesn't mean you are unhealthy."

Physically and mentally, Low says she is in a better place.

When TNP last interviewed her in January, she might have been thinner but she battled a severe bout of depression and was on anti-depressants and "anti-psychotic pills". Now, she said she hasn't had a depressive phase "in a long while".

In Justice Devil, Low plays a young mother who's devastated by the killing of her five-year-old daughter and decides to seek revenge on the murderers, led by drug kingpins played by local actors Daniel Chen, Ernest Seah, Rio Chan and Michael Chua.

While she is comfortable in her own skin, Low also admitted that she is "desperate to lose some weight" before the film's private media preview and premiere on Sept 26.

Release date

Its official release date has not been confirmed.

"I've been jogging every day," she said.

Perhaps the physicality required for her role helped to keep her weight in check during her two-month shoot. "I had to carry real axes and chainsaws in some scenes, which were really heavy. Especially the chainsaw, which I had to use both my hands to lift," she said.

Another challenge was a scene involving her character being raped by Seah's. While there was no nudity involved, it was "very embarrassing" nonetheless, she said.

"Initially, I felt insecure and kept giggling. Thankfully, Ernest was extremely professional and he quickly got me into the mood."

Low, who is single but does "go on dates sometimes", is happy at her current F&B job and views it as a long-term profession. "I've grown emotionally attached to it and I like mingling and chit-chatting with people from nearly all walks of life," she said.

So does she get to meet any hunks at her workplace? "There are many eligible bachelors, I don't know who to choose!" she said. "Some customers do recognise me and they've been very encouraging."

She does not rule out taking on another project as "acting is fun", but she hasn't received any offers.

Low's male co-stars - all of whom are tortured by her on screen - have nothing but praise for her. "Ris is a lovely, sweet girl," said Chua, 53, a father of two.

"Given the conditions of our outdoor shoots - the hot sun, mosquitoes and very often, fake blood splattered everywhere - I think she did very well."

Chen, 27, said any preconceived notions he had about Low were dismissed once they started working. "From all the things I've read about her in the media, I thought she would be demanding and difficult. But she turned out to be very bubbly. As the only girl on set, she made all of us laugh," he said.

Agreed Chan, 27: "My initial impression of her was that she must be very pampered. It wasn't the case at all. We were doing 12-hour shoots and she had no complaints."


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