Early life And Career
Padma Lakshmi was nurtured in a traditional Tamil Brahmin household after her 1970 birth in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India. Her parents split up when she was only two. The family later relocated to the United States when she was four years old, and she spent her formative years in Manhattan, New York, and then La Puente, California.
In her writing, Lakshmi describes how her stepfather sexually abused her when she was a child. It was in 1984 that she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a severe skin response that landed her in the hospital for three weeks. She had just been released from the hospital when a car accident in Malibu left her with serious injuries to her right hip and upper right arm.
Lakshmi attended William Workman High School and graduated in 1988. After that, she attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she studied theatre arts and American literature until graduating in 1992. After being discovered by a modeling agent while studying abroad in Madrid, Lakshmi went on to establish herself as one of the first Indian models to work in major markets like New York, Paris, and Milan.
Lakshmi has posed for a wide variety of high-profile designers over the course of her career, from Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace to Alberta Ferretti and Ralph Lauren. Her work as a model included advertisements for Versus and Roberto Cavalli, and she was a favorite of German-American photographer Helmut Newton.
Lakshmi has been featured on the covers of numerous magazines throughout her career as a model, including FHM, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire’s Indian Edition, Newsweek, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue India. She first came to public attention when she posed for a naked photo shoot for the May 2009 issue of Allure.
By hosting and judging Season 2 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” in 2006, Lakshmi gained more notoriety and a larger audience. She is still the host of the show, which has chefs competing against one another in a number of different types of cooking competitions. From its second season onward, “Top Chef” was nominated for an Emmy every year between seasons two and sixteen, eventually winning the award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program in its sixth season. On top of that, Lakshmi was nominated for an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for season five.
Film and Television
In 1997, Lakshmi was the host of the most-watched Italian television program ever, “Domenica In.” She went on to star in shows including “Il Figlio di Sandokan,” “Caraibi – Pirates: Blood Brothers,” and “Linda e il brigadier” (both in Italian). She hosted two episodes of the British cooking show “Planet Food,” which aired on the Food Network and Discovery Channel in 2000, in India and Spain. While hosting “Melting Pot: Padma’s Passport” on the Food Network the next year, Lakshmi showcased international cuisines.
Lakshmi also appeared in “Glitter,” the musical starring Mariah Carey, in 2001, in a supporting role. Her character, Sylk, a lip-synching disco artist, was comic relief. A year later, she had a cameo appearance on “Star Trek: Enterprise” as the alien princess Kaitaama.
Later, she appeared in the Indian films “Boom” and “The Mistress of Spices.” Lakshmi played Madhuvanthi in an episode of the British series Sharpe’s Challenge in 2006, and she also played Princess Bithia in ABC’s biblical miniseries The Ten Commandments. The Indian film “Exclusion” and the improv comedy series “Whose Line is it Anyway?” are among his most recent works.
Additional Reality Show Appearances
Lakshmi has contributed to several shows outside “Top Chef,” including season 19 of “The View.” She also competed against music producer Randy Jackson on the TBS show “Drop the Mic,” in which she ultimately prevailed. Lakshmi has also appeared as a guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Beginning in 2020, she hosted and served as executive producer for the Hulu travel and food show “Taste the Nation.” Lakshmi takes a cross-country trip on the show to explore regional cuisines and cultural practices.
In 1999, Lakshmi released “Easy Exotic,” a cookbook filled with exotic recipes and short writings. “Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet” was her second cookbook, and it was published in 2007. She went on to write two books in 2016, all related to food: a cookbook, “The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs,” and a memoir, “Love, Loss, and What We Ate.” In addition to her regular column in the New York Times, Lakshmi has contributed extensively to Vogue USA.
Padma Lakshmi Personal Life and Activism
After dating for three years, Lakshmi married Salman Rushdie, a novelist, in 2004. They later divorced in 2007. They dated for three years, from 2009 to 2011, and he was a rich businessman named Theodore J. Forstmann. Together with her other half, venture investor Adam Dell, Lakshmi is the proud mother of their daughter Krishna.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America was created by Lakshmi, who at the age of 36 was diagnosed with endometriosis and saw a need to create a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and promoting research and legislation concerning the condition. Lakshmi also campaigns for immigrant and women’s rights with the ACLU and serves as a global ambassador for the charity Keep a Child Alive.
Padma Lakshmi Net worth
Padma Lakshmi has earned a fortune of $40 million as a writer, actress, and model of Indian descent in the United States. Most people know Padma Lakshmi as the host of the popular culinary competition series “Top Chef.” In 2006, during the show’s second season, Padma took over as host. She has also appeared in films and TV shows in the US, UK, India, and Italy, as well as in other reality competition series. Not only that, but Lakshmi has also written a memoir and a series of recipes.