Lai migrated to Singapore with her Taiwanese family when she was still a student. She joined Star Search Singapore 1999 and was champion in the Singapore edition and overall champion in her gender category.
Lai started out as an actress, making her debut in Knotty Liaisons, and won good reviews. She eventually diversified into hosting and has hosted various kinds of programmes ranging from food reviews to travelogues. In 2012, after numerous nominations, she won her first professional award, the Best Supporting Actress award, at the Star Awards 2012 for her role as a Chinese immigrant in Love Thy Neighbour.
At the Star Awards 2015, Lai received the All-Time Favourite Artiste Award, which is given to any artiste who has made the Top 10 Most Popular Artiste list for 10 times. She received the award together with actress Jeanette Aw. Lai's win of this coveted award was not without controversy, with netizens doubting her popularity and saying her win was not convincing. Lai was not in the running for the polls in several years and show of support for her by the public was not apparent at all. Yet she would never fail to win whenever she was nominated. This had led to speculation among the public that her votes were "bought" through the telepoll.
Lai is also the brand Ambassador for beverage brand Pokka (where her husband is CEO), Lion Kirei Kirei, Samsung Home Appliances, 3M Scotch Brite, Osim etc.
Lai is married to Alain Ong and the couple have two daughters, Vera and Ariel. Alain Ong is the CEO of Pokka International, which Lai has been brand ambassador for multiple years. This has thus attracted its fair share of controversy, amid allegations of conflict of interest.