The host and actress has been taking steps to check one major ambition off her bucket list
Photos: Pamela Chow
The outspoken and carefree Vivian Lai sits across me in a cosy room, reclining in an armchair. Her denim dungaree sports a pastel purple ribbon, but it’s not a trend statement. The local face of beverage brand Pokka and a household name in Singapore, Lai is showing support for the Singapore Cancer Society, Pokka’s adopted charity of the year.
But her involvement stems beyond just her ambassadorship with Pokka, as I find out in an intimate chat about her own experience with cancer, as well as her ambitious future plans.
Vivian Lai with a volunteer and fan at the newly refurbished Singapore Cancer Society Rehabilitation Centre.
Hi Vivian! What have you been up to?
I recently finished shooting for two variety shows: “Be My Guest” and a cooking show.
What are your thoughts about Pokka’s support of the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS)?
This campaign really helps give courage and spirit to people who are affected by cancer. Many tend to panic and feel helpless when they first find out about it, so this movement shows them that the SCS can aid them in overcoming fears and problems.
Have you personally been impacted by such a situation?
I have a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I really admire her courage – when she found out, she didn’t hide it from her family or friends. Having a support system is very important because sometimes you can’t cope alone. We’ve rallied around to help her in any way she needs; it’s like we’re all united to fight cancer together.
How do you show support to your friend?
I try my best to cheer her up whenever she’s moody or unwell after her treatment. I will hang out with her and bring her to fun events or sales, just to make her happy and take her mind off it.
It seems that you’re quite friendly and sociable, like your personality on television.
My off-screen personality is very similar to that on television: I’m happy-go-lucky and I take it easy. I don’t overthink things.
On variety shows, we usually have to talk a lot, so people may think that I’m very talkative. [Laughs] But it’s tiring to talk and be hyper for the whole day, so when I get home, you don’t feel like saying anything.