Born and raised in Langkawi, Jesseca is one of Mediacorp’s Seven Princesses – a bevy of young actresses who rose to fame in the early 2000s, which includes Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Joanne Peh and Felicia Chin. A former beauty queen and model, Jesseca was talent-scouted by a Mediacorp producer in 2004, who offered her a role in popular swimming drama The Champion.
The rest, as they say, is history: Jesseca went on to win Most Popular Newcomer at the 2005 Star Awards for her role in family drama Portrait Of Home, and starred in hit series like Secrets For Sale, The Oath and feature film Lost And Found, opposite Taiwanese stars Xiao Xiao Bin and James Wen. An ambassador for Mazda and homegrown beauty brand Estetica, she also stars in this month’s Channel 8 psychological drama Mind Matters, where she plays a tailor who is obsessed with cleanliness.
Here’s what we learned about Jesseca’s plans for her first Chinese New Year as a newlywed, why she doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, and why she’s changed her mind about having babies.
Jesseca laughed at her husband on their honeymoon after he got bird poop on his head
Fresh from her honeymoon to Europe, where she and fellow actor husband Jeremy Chan traversed Italy, Spain and Portugal, Jesseca said that a bird unexpectedly pooped on Jeremy’s head, just as they were contemplating whether to enter a restaurant in Florence.
“It was so funny because a huge flock of birds flew by suddenly, and before we knew it, there were bird droppings on Jeremy’s head,” Jesseca recalls with a chuckle. “Of course I had to laugh before helping him clean up!”
She jokes that her husband used to be “more romantic”
It’s clear that Jesseca is deeply in love – she married Jeremy in her hometown of Langkawi last July after a three-year courtship, and the couple has a rock-solid bond, though she jibes that Jeremy was “actually more romantic before we got married”.
“Once, he took me on a romantic date where we had a candlelit dinner on a rooftop, and he also proposed to me near a beautiful temple in Japan, overlooking a cliff – it was so beautiful, and he presented me with a cake with a ring on top. Nowadays, I don’t get that kind of treatment,” she jokes.
“To be fair, we’ve both been busy filming since we were married, so we didn’t always get to spend lots of quality time together aside from the honeymoon.”
She’s a successful businesswoman
Besides acting, Jesseca is also a shrewd businesswoman. She owns Bellis Spa, with three outlets in Langkawi, a café, and an Airbnb apartment, with her family helping to run the businesses. Still, don’t expect her to retire from showbiz anytime soon. “I think acting will always be my first love, and it suits my character because I relish the chance to try new things.”
She’s spending her first Lunar New Year as a newlywed with her husband’s family
This Chinese New Year is Jesseca’s first as a newlywed, and she is looking forward to starting new traditions with her husband’s family. “I usually go back to Langkawai to spend the whole Chinese New Year season with my family, but this year, I will be with my in-laws in Singapore, then visit Langkawi on the second day. I always look forward to my mum’s home-cooked dinners, where she will cook my grandmother’s traditional recipes and we’ll have homemade cookies as well. Sadly, my grandmother has passed on, but she lives on through her wonderful dishes.”
“My wish for the Year of the Dog is for my husband and I to enjoy our married life, grow closer as a couple, and for my family to have good luck and prosperity.”
She’s willing to risk her life to become a mum
Jesseca is currently filming Channel 8 drama Babies On Board, where she plays a gynecologist who ironically is struggling with infertility together with her husband, played by Tay Ping Hui. Babies On Board will air in May.
“I talked to real-life ob-gyns and IVF specialists to see what it’s like to work with pregnant women and deliver babies,” said Jesseca. “One thing that really struck me is how hard it is to be a mother. The doctors told me that mothers risk their lives to bring babies into this world, and sometimes, delivery is a life-or-death situation – which I never considered, because my sister had three kids and it seemed like such a natural thing.”
“For a while, I thought I didn’t want to have kids because I saw it as a burden. But when I see a child who is very well-behaved, it makes me think, ‘Maybe it won’t be so bad; I should have one too’. Because of my age, I don’t think I’ll wait too long to have kids – we will probably try for a baby in the next couple of years.
She doesn’t really believe in Valentine’s Day
Jesseca says she and Jeremy aren’t in the habit commemorating V-Day. Her advice for couples? Don’t complicate dates, and keep things chill. “Spend some effort giving your other half small surprises, like going on a picnic together,” she says. “Jeremy and I don’t set overly-high targets for each other. Valentine’s Day isn’t something we celebrate, and we don’t go out of our way to make a big thing out of it, because every day can be Valentine’s Day when you’re treating each other well. We’re very open with each other, and neither of us needs much to be happy.”
This article was first published on The Singapore Women’s Weekly.