Lakshmi at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
|Born||Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynathan
September 1, 1970
New Delhi, India
|Occupation||Model, author, actress, TV host|
|Spouse(s)||Salman Rushdie (m. 2004; div. 2007)|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
Padma Lakshmi (pronounced [ˈpəd̪maː ˈləkʃmiː]; born September 1, 1970) is an American cookbook author, actress, model, television host and executive producer. Her debut cookbook Easy Exotic won her the "Best First Book" award at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She has been the host of the US reality television program Top Chef since season two in 2006, for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. In 2010, Top Chef won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.
Padma Lakshmi was born in New Delhi, India into an Iyer Brahmin family. Her father was a Pfizer executive, and her mother, Vijaya, the first wife of her father, was a nurse who specialized in oncology. Her mother tongue is Tamil. She grew up shuttling between her grandparents in Chennai and her mother in New York. She is her parents' only child from this marriage. Her parents separated when she was age one. They divorced a year later. Both parents later remarried, and Lakshmi has a younger paternal half-brother and half-sister. The latter formerly worked as an actress and classical dancer but is now pursuing a career with children with special needs. In an interview in The Guardian, Lakshmi said, "My father had quit his job as an executive at Pfizer to manage her career. That was kind of like rubbing salt in the wound. I didn't understand why he wanted that relationship with her, and not with me."
In 1984, when she was 14 years old, Lakshmi was hospitalized for three weeks, eventually diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is caused by hypersensitivity to an infection or certain kinds of medications. Two days after discharge from the hospital, she was in a car accident in Malibu, California, causing an injury to her right arm that required surgery, which left a 7-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder. The accident left Lakshmi with a fractured right hip and a shattered upper right arm.
Lakshmi graduated from Workman High School, home of the Lobos and the giant rock in the City of Industry, California. She is a 1992 graduate of Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she received a BA, with Honors, in Theatre Arts.
Lakshmi's career began at age 21, when she was discovered while studying abroad by a modeling agent in Madrid, Spain while sitting in a café. As she has stated, "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 managed to pay off her college loans while working as a model and actress.
She has modeled for top 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 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. Lakshmi also posed nude for the May 2009 issue of Allure magazine.
Her first cookbook Easy Exotic, a compilation of international recipes and short memoirs, was awarded Best First Book at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at Versailles. She was host of the Food Network series Padma's Passport, which was part of the larger series Melting Pot in 2001, where Lakshmi cooked recipes from around the world. She also hosted two one-hour specials on 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. Her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, was released October 2, 2007.
Film and television
Lakshmi's first role was in an Italian murder mystery Il figlio di Sandokan and her subsequent role in Caraibi (Pirates: Blood Brothers), a costume drama about 17th-century pirates got Lakshmi hooked on acting in 1999. She had a comical supporting role as the lip synching disco singer Sylk in the 2001 American movie Glitter with Mariah Carey. She starred in the 2003 film Boom as Shiela Bardez, one of a trio of super models accused of stealing diamonds. She played the role of Geeta in Paul Mayeda Berges' 2005 film The Mistress of Spices.
Lakshmi served as hostess of Domenica In, Italy's top-rated television show in 1997. She made a 2002 guest appearance as alien princess Kaitaama in "Precious Cargo", the 37th episode of the science fiction TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. Lakshmi portrayed Sean Bean's nemesis Madhuvanthi in the 2004–2005 TV series Sharpe's Challenge. In 2006, Lakshmi appeared in ABC's TV series The Ten Commandments with Dougray Scott, Naveen Andrews, and Omar Sharif. She serves as lead host and judge on the television show Top Chef, joining in 2006 during its second season, and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program as co-host in 2007. Lakshmi was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in 2009 for Top Chef. The show won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program in 2010. She is also an Executive Producer of the show.
Padma had a syndicated column in The New York Times and has written articles on style for the American edition of Vogue magazine, at Anna Wintour's request. She also wrote a column on style in Harper's Bazaar, following a commission from Editor Glenda Bailey.
Combining her culinary and fashion style tastes, Lakshmi launched her first line of jewelry in 2009. Titled "Padma", the first collection consisted of forty pieces.
On April 17, 2004, in New York City, Lakshmi married the novelist Salman Rushdie, twenty-three years her senior, to whom she was introduced at a party in 1999 hosted by the journalist and editor Tina Brown. On July 2, 2007, the couple filed for divorce. She is the model for one of the central characters and love interests in Rushdie's novel Fury (a novel dedicated to her as well).
Lakshmi was brought up as a vegetarian and has admitted that because of this, she sometimes becomes "squeamish" when sampling other cultural delicacies. In 2009, she starred in a television advertisement for the Carl's Jr. restaurant chain eating a Western Bacon Cheeseburger, and in her second cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet she credits the chain with bringing her away from vegetarianism during her teenage years.
Lakshmi is a co-founder of The Endometriosis Foundation of America, which is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness, education, research, and legislative advocacy against the disease. Padma is now a speaker and fundraiser at the MIT center for Gynepathology research and gave the keynote address at its launch. She has also been a global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, since 2007 and has traveled to KCA sites in India on their behalf.
|1995||Unzipped||Documentary (High Fashion)||Herself|
|1997||Domenica In||TV Series (Italy)||Host|
|1998||Il Figlio di Sandokan||TV Series (Italian, Drama)|
|1999||Caraibi – Pirates: Blood Brothers||TV Series (Italian, Adventure)||Malinche|
|2000||Linda e il brigadiere
ep: "Il fratello di Linda"
|TV Series (Italian, Comedy)||Indian Lady|
|Planet Food||Documentary (Cooking)||Host|
|2001||Glitter||Film (US, Drama)||Sylk|
|Melting Pot: Padma's Passport||TV Series (US, Cooking)||Host|
|2002||Star Trek: Enterprise
episode: "Precious Cargo"
|TV Series (US, Sci-Fi)||Kaitaama|
|2003||Boom||Film (Indian, Drama)||Shiela Bardez|
|2005||The Mistress of Spices||Film (Drama)||Geeta|
|2006||The Ten Commandments||TV Series (US, Biblical)||Princess Bithia|
episode: "Sharpe's Challenge"
|TV Series (Action/History/War)||Madhuvanthi|
|2006–||Top Chef||TV Series (US, Reality/Cooking)||Host / Judge|
episode: "The Problem Solvers"
|TV Series (US, Comedy)||Herself|
|2014||Whose Line Is It Anyway?||TV Series (US, Comedy)||Herself|
- "Padma Lakshmi". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
- Gauri Sinh (January 25, 2002). "It's my life, says Padma Lakshmi". The Times of India. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Neha Tara Mehta (October 24, 2010). "Padma a secret in Rushdie memoir". India Today. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Amit Roy (April 30, 2006). "The Telegraph – Calcutta : Look". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Jennifer Bain (December 22, 2007). "Padma Lakshmi a global brand in the making". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Jess Cartner-Morley, "Beautiful and Damned". The Guardian. April 8, 2006
- OutlookIndia, Womyn Of Hindoostan
- Stephen Henderson (April 25, 2004). "Weddings/Celebrations – Vows – Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- K, Kannan (January 23, 2002). "Talk of The Town". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- Escape Views Harpers & Queen—March 2004, Lakshmifilms.com
- Divya Unny (July 5, 2007). "Padma Lakshmi..the woman who broke Rushdie's heart". www.dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Padma Lakshmi — Evening Standard Magazine LakshmiFilms.com
- "Letter From New York". Vanity Fair. Issues 566-568. 2007.
- Bravotv.com (2007)BIOS / Padma Lakshmi
- Hattersley, Giles (April 2, 2006). "My husband? Oh, he's a writer dude". Sunday Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2006. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
- Padma Lakshmi Bio Bravotv.com
- D’Souza Wolfe, Nandini. "At Home with Padma". New York Press. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Press for Padma Lakshmi". Lakshmifilms.com. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Lysaght, Stephanie (April 13, 2009). "Padma Lakshmi of 'Top Chef' and Chelsea Handler of E! get naked". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Food – TV and radio". BBC. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- Amazon.com Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day (Hardcover)
- "Padma Lakshmi – The Lotus Position, Filmfare". Lakshmifilms.com. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- "Eels, 'That Look You Give That Guy' – Video Premiere – Spinner UK". Spinnermusic.co.uk. September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Rushdie, Top Chef Wife Skewer Marriage". E! News. July 3, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
- "Padma Lakshmi – Crossover Bride, L'Officel India". Lakshmifilms.com. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Almost Flawless" by Padma Lakshmi. Vogue, April 2001.
- Top Chef Host Padma Lakshmi Takes a Bite NY Daily News; March 26, 2009
- Daily Mail
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