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Padma Lakshmi (American author, actress, model, and television host) Bio, Facts. 

Padma Lakshmi

Born Name: Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynathan
Date of Birth: September 1, 1970
Place of Birth: Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
Nationality: American
Occupation: Model, author, actress, television host
Spouse(s): Salman Rushdie(m. 2004; div. 2007)
Partner(s): Theodore J. Forstmann (2009–2011)
Children: Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell
Modeling information
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Brown
Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynathan (born September 1, 1970), known professionally as Padma Lakshmi (pronounced [ˈpəd̪maː ˈləkʃmiː]), is an American author, actress, model, and television host. She is the host of the US cooking competition program Top Chef.

She has hosted the show continuously since season 2 (2006), with season 17 (2020) being the latest. For her work, she received a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Reality Host in 2009.

She has published three cookbooks and one memoir. She has also ventured into acting in film and television, and hosted several cooking programs before Top Chef. She also launched her own kitchenware line.

Early life
Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynathan was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, into a middle-class Tamil family. Her mother Vijaya is a retired nurse. Her father is a retired executive with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Her parents divorced when she was two years old. Both of her parents later remarried, and she has a younger half-brother and half-sister from her father's side.

Lakshmi immigrated to the United States at four and grew up in Manhattan, New York, before moving to La Puente, California with her mother and stepfather. As a teenager growing up in Los Angeles, she stated that she was bullied and endured racial aggression, which caused her to struggle to overcome "internalized self-loathing."

In 1984, when Lakshmi was 14 years old, she was hospitalized for three weeks, and eventually diagnosed with Stevens–Johnson syndrome, a rare illness caused by hypersensitivity to an infection, or a potentially fatal reaction to certain kinds of medications.

Two days after her discharge from the hospital, she was injured in a car accident in Malibu, California, which left her with a fractured right hip and a shattered right upper arm. The arm injury required surgery, which left her with a seven-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder.

Lakshmi graduated from William Workman High School in City of Industry, California,

Lakshmi attended Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts. She began her modeling career while an exchange student in Madrid, Spain. Lakshmi graduated with a degree in theater arts and American literature.[when?]

Sexual assaults
In 2018, Lakshmi wrote in The New York Times that she was sexually assaulted as a small girl, "When I was 7 years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis. Shortly after I told my mother and stepfather, they sent me to India for a year to live with my grandparents. The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out."

She also revealed a 1986 sexual assault, in which she was raped at the age of 16. She wrote, "It took me decades to talk about this with intimate partners and a therapist. Now, 32 years after my rape, I am stating publicly what happened. I am speaking now because I want us all to fight so that our daughters never know this fear and shame and our sons know that girls’ bodies do not exist for their pleasure and that abuse has grave consequences."

Lakshmi's modeling career began at age 21. While studying abroad in Madrid, she was discovered by a modeling agent. She has said, "I was the first Indian model to have a career in Paris, Milan, and New York. I'm the first one to admit that I was a novelty." Lakshmi was able to pay off her college loans by working as a model and actress.

She has modeled for designers such as Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti, and appeared in ad campaigns for Roberto Cavalli and Versus. She was a favorite model of the photographer Helmut Newton, whose photographs of her often highlighted the large scar on her right arm.

Lakshmi has appeared on the covers of Redbook, Vogue India, FHM, Cosmopolitan, L'Officiel India, Asian Woman, Avenue, Industry Magazine, Marie Claire (India Edition), Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country, and Newsweek. She also posed nude for the May 2009 issue of Allure.

She has done shoots for photographers Mario Testino and Helmut Newton.

Film, television and hosting
Lakshmi is the current host and one of the judges on the television show Top Chef, having joined in 2006 during its season 2. She has since hosted the show consecutively, with season 17 the latest. The show has been nominated in Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program from season 2 up until season 16, with season 6 winning the award in 2010.

She also serves as an executive producer of the show. Lakshmi was nominated in the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in 2009 for the season 5 of Top Chef.

Previously, Lakshmi first served as a host of Domenica In, Italy's top-rated television show, in 1997. She hosted the Food Network series Padma's Passport, which was part of the larger series Melting Pot in 2001, where she cooked recipes from around the world. She also hosted two one-hour specials in South India and Spain for the British culinary tourism show Planet Food, broadcast on the Food Network in the U.S. and internationally on the Discovery Channels.

Lakshmi was also an official contributor for season 19 of The View from 2015 to 2016. For celebrity contestant, she competed and won against music producer Randy Jackson in an episode of TBS's Drop the Mic that aired on December 26, 2017.

Her first film roles were in the Italian pirate movies The Son of Sandokan and Caraibi (Pirates: Blood Brothers). She had a comical supporting part as the lip-synching disco singer Sylk in the 2001 American movie Glitter, starring Mariah Carey. In 2002, Lakshmi made a guest appearance as alien princess Kaitaama in "Precious Cargo," the 37th episode of the science fiction TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. She portrayed Madhuvanthi in the TV movie Sharpe's Challenge (aired 2006). In 2006, she appeared in ABC's Biblical TV series The Ten Commandments as Princess Bithia. In 2009, Lakshmi starred in the video for the Eels song "That Look You Give That Guy".

She starred in the 2003 Bollywood film Boom, alongside Katrina Kaif and Madhu Sapre, as one of three supermodels who are accused of stealing diamonds. She played the role of Geeta in Paul Mayeda Berges's 2005 film The Mistress of Spices. Lakshmi also made a guest appearance on the NBC series 30 Rock in 2009 and appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 2014.

Books and writing
Lakshmi's first cookbook, Easy Exotic, a compilation of international recipes and short essays released in 1999, was awarded the Best First Book at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Versailles. Her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, was released on October 2, 2007. Her first memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate, was released on International's Women's Day, March 8, 2016. Lakshmi released her third cookbook, an encyclopedia and cookbook, The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs in October 2016.

She had a syndicated column in The New York Times and has written articles on style for the American edition of Vogue, at editor Anna Wintour's request. She also wrote a column on style for Harper's Bazaar (UK and US editions), following a commission from editor Glenda Bailey.

  • Easy Exotic: A Model's Low Fat Recipes From Around the World (1999), cookbook
  • Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day (2007), cookbook
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir (2016), memoir
  • The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World (2016), encyclopedia/cookbook

In 2009, Lakshmi launched her first line of jewelry, Padma. She also has two tableware collections. The first, The Padma Collection, is a line of dinnerware composed of Moroccan ceramics and Turkish glass. The second, Easy Exotic, is a line of more casual kitchenware. Under the Easy Exotic brand, Lakshmi also has a line of specialty spices and teas as well as a line of organic frozen rices.

Personal life
In April 2004, after dating and living together for three years, Lakshmi married novelist Salman Rushdie. In July 2007, the couple filed for divorce.

In 2009, Lakshmi briefly dated and broke off with venture capitalist Adam Dell. After that, she entered a relationship with businessman Teddy Forstmann from 2009 to 2011. During this time, Lakshmi gave birth to a baby girl, Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell, on February 20, 2010. Lakshmi was initially unclear as to the identity of the father. Paternity testing revealed that Adam Dell was the father. In 2011, Dell sued for custody of their daughter, and later both reached agreement to have joint custody and co-parenting. They have resumed dating since 2017.

Lakshmi speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Tamil and Hindi.

Health conditions
Lakshmi had two ovarian cysts removed when she was 30, but her doctor did not inform her that she had a chronic condition that needed to be monitored. In 2005, she was rushed to the hospital because of severe abdominal cramps.

It turned out that some endometrial tissue had wrapped itself around my small intestine like a tourniquet. The gastroenterological surgeon who called this tissue "scar tissue" said that he snipped it off and that I should be fine. Again, I was far from fine, and all of the symptoms I had came raging back with my next period.

At the age of thirty-six, Lakshmi was diagnosed with endometriosis, which she has had since early adolescence:

I was told by my mother that this was just our lot in life, because I'm sure that's what she was told by her mother. So I expected the pain, saw my mother go through it in fact, month in and month out.

Lakshmi is a co-founder of The Endometriosis Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness, education, research, and legislative advocacy against the disease. The foundation was instrumental in the opening of the MIT Center for Gynepathology Research, where Lakshmi gave the keynote address. She is a global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, and since 2007 has traveled to sites in India on their behalf. She is also a strong advocate of women's rights.

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Categories: 1970 births,American actresses of Indian descent,American cookbook writers,American female models of Indian descent,American people of Indian Tamil descent,American people of Tamil descent,American television actresses,American women non-fiction writers,American women writers of Indian descent,Clark University alumni,Indian emigrants to the United States,The New Yorker people,Participants in American reality television series,Top Chef,Women cookbook writers,Women food writers,Writers from Chennai,Writers from New York City

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