The truth behind actress Jesseca Liu’s smoking-hot looks in the new Channel U series Marry Me is not so pretty.

“I was very cold and frequently felt weak on set, possibly due to the weight loss,” she says.

Jesseca Liu starved to be a man-eater

The 34-year-old, who is 1.72m tall, usually maintains a 50kg figure during filming. She was 54kg when she started work on Marry Me as man-eating matchmaker Rainbow Ang.

A scene which required her to wear a bikini prompted her to lose the extra weight.

“That scene was shot about two or three days into filming and I was hesitant to do it because I wasn’t so confident of my body then.”

So she asked for more time to get in shape before filming the scene.

“I lost about 7kg in about 1 1/2 months for the role. I had to keep to a strict diet. I ate less and didn’t eat after 7pm.

“I drank fruit juice in the morning, ate fish soup for lunch and didn’t eat starchy foods,” she recalls.

It was a tough diet to follow, she confesses, revealing that she often felt hungry. The result: a bikini-ready bod for the show, which revolves around three single women and their romantic lives.

Usually known for playing innocent, girl-next- door characters such as Ruan Mianmian in 2005’s Portrait Of Home and the kind-hearted Zhao Xintong in last year’s Game Plan, Liu took a big, bold step in slipping under the skin of the sultry siren Rainbow – even if wearing a bikini on screen is not new for her, having done so in the 2004 drama The Champion.

Some people closer to her welcomed the change while others had their doubts.

“My mum didn’t watch the show, but she saw some of the stills from the drama and felt that it was quite refreshing to see me like that. Some of my fans haven’t been so accepting, they feel like I’ve gone too far this time and advise me to take care of my image.”

Professionally speaking, she does not shy away from roles which are beyond what is commonly expected of her. In fact, she embraces them.

“I like to play roles that are very different from myself and Rainbow is the kind of girl that I have hardly even met.”

The leggy actress concedes that Rainbow is too aggressive for her to truly identify with and actually finds more common ground with Liu Xixi, co-star Yvonne Lim’s character in the drama, who loses her boyfriend of two decades when she neglects romance for work.

Says Liu, who is currently single and manages a few spas in Langkawi with her family alongside her acting career: “Perhaps I’m not completely like Xixi because she is so perfect in so many ways, but we are alike in the sense that my first priority is work as well.”

Marry Me airs on Channel U, Wednesday to Friday at 8pm.