Model-turned-TV-host Padma Lakshmi was born in India to a Hindu family. Her first name means "Lotus" in Sanskrit, and her last name is the name of the Hindu goddess of wealth. While spending her final year at school in Spain, Lakshmi was discovered by a photographer, who noticed her inky black hair, long sinewy frame, and high cheekbones. She began modeling, and within a few years, she was working with major designers and was an in-demand figure in the fashion industry. In 2001, the model began trying her hand at acting, appearing in the Mariah Carey film Glitter. She also began appearing on the Food Network and in more successful movies like The Ten Commandments. In 2004, she married acclaimed and controversial author Salman Rushdie, though the two would split in 2007. Lakshmi's career continued to move full steam ahead, however, as she would gain still more fame as host of the Bravo competitive reality show Top Chef.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Has a seven-inch scar on her right arm as the result of a car accident when she was 14.
- Was discovered by an agent while sitting in a café in Spain.
- Has released cookbooks Easy Exotic: Low-Fat Recipes From Around the World in 1999 and Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day in 2007.
- Is fluent in five languages.
- Made her film debut in Glitter in 2001.
- Joined Bravo's Top Chef as the host for the second season, in 2006.
- Launched a tabletop collection in 2013.
- Cofounded the Endometriosis Foundation of America, which raises awareness and funds research for the disease.