Padma Lakshmi is widely known for her role in hosting Top Chef, and for the cookbook she released in conjunction with this show. Now in its 16th year on air, fans of the televised cooking competition have been watching the gorgeous Padma Lakshmi host Top Chef since its 2nd season.
As a truly dedicated veteran of the show, she is part of everyone’s viewing experience and has used this platform to grow her already wildly successful career. While this is the forum on which we’re most accustomed to seeing Padma, she has led an incredibly diverse and interesting life which spans over a number of industries and experiences. Let’s take a look at 20 Surprising Facts About Top Chef Host Padma Lakshmi.
20 Survived A Severe Car Crash
When she was 14 years old, Padma and her mother were on their way back from the Temple when their car skidded off the road and into a tree. Lucky to be alive, Padma suffered severe injuries from this collision, inclusive of a broken pelvis and a severely shattered arm. Her scar is the battle wound that documents the struggles she has overcome.
19 Psychology Degree And Theatre Degree
Padma’s educational background is as diverse as her life experiences are. She attended Clark University in Massachusetts, and according to Biography, she began by pursuing a psychology degree in her undergrad, then started to follow her love for the theatre. She graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre.
18 Scouted In Spain
Padma was studying in Spain and ended up in a bar one evening in Madrid. She was instantly spotted by a modeling scout, and the rest, as they say, is history. It was at this time that her modeling career was launched, and she instantly saw incredible success as the first Indian model for many of the world’s most influential brands.
17 Modeled For Major Brands, Toured The World
Her modeling career was instantly ignited and Padma began traveling the world for the very first time. She graced magazines across the globe and modeled for Armani, Versace, and Ralph Lauren to name a few. This experience gave her the ability to see new sights and taste new flavors, all of which were instrumental in forming her future career.
16 Speaks 5 Languages
Padma Lakshmi is certainly not just a pretty face. She is an incredibly talented, educated woman who is fluent in five languages. She can easily communicate in Tamil, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, and of course, English. Her interview with Biography credits her solid educational background and travel experience as being instrumental in her ability to quickly pick-up new languages.
15 Had A Role In Mariah Carey’s Glitter
Padma has dipped her toes in the world of both Hollywood and Bollywood, and has soared to success in both arenas. Part of her impressive repertoire includes a bit part in the movie Glitter, starring Mariah Carey. This 2001 appearance is just one of many that she lays claim to.
14 Starred In A Role That Required 30 Lb Weight Gain
One of her other roles included a requirement for Padma to gain a full 30 pounds. In order to fulfill her role, she had to gain the weight and it was not as easy a task as it may seem. This was all for her part in the Italian miniseries, Caraibi, which was released in 1999. She has definitely bounced back from that weight gain since then!
13 Published A Cookbook Which Led To Her TV Show
After losing the weight she put on for Caraibi, Padma wrote and released a cookbook. This book featured a tantalizing collection of healthy recipes that incorporated the flavors of her native Indian roots. It was the success of this book which led to her own show on the Food Network, alongside other prominently featured TV appearances.
12 Co-Hosted The View
Hosting The View was a natural fit for Padma Lakshmi. Her experience on Top Chef enabled her to take the stage with confidence and make history as the first Indian woman to appear on, and co-host, the show. The cameras loved her, she was well-spoken, and she really seemed to fit in this role with ease.
11 Has Her Own Line Of Products
Similar to many other wildly successful career women, Padma has learned not to put all her eggs in one basket. Rather than just riding the wave of her success on Top Chef, she decided to take it one step further by creating her own brand of items. She is the proud owner of her own line of spices, teas, bake-wear, and jewelry.
10 Was Married To Salman Rushdie
Padma & Rushdie met in 1999 and when they tied the knot 5 years later, many were surprised to see a woman 20 years his junior promise her life to Rushdie. The two split three years later, and according to the National Post, Padma had an incredibly difficult and widely documented time during their relationship.
9 He Created A Character Based On Her
It’s not every day that someone writes a novel about you, but when you’re Padma Lakshmi, it happens! Back in 2001, her then-husband Salman Rushdie based a character in his novel on Padma Lakhsmi, herself. The novel was called Fury, and he actually dedicated the book to Padma as well.
8 She Went By The Alias “Angelique”
One of the most interesting things we’ve learned so far is that Padma had an alias! According to the Food Network, this alias was something she contrived when she first moved to the US, as she was having a difficult time fitting in. She felt the need to “Americanize” herself when she moved from India, and the name “Angelique” is one that she adopted for ease of transition. She eventually reverted back to her birth name.
7 Addicted To Pizza
Many of us love indulging in pizza, but none of us do it quite like Padma Lakshmi. She has a downright addiction to the pie! She revealed to Fitness Magazine that she works out a lot in order to be able to eat the foods she craves. She shared her weakness for pizza by telling them "If I'm going out for pizza, I'm literally going to take down a whole large pie by myself!" We can definitely relate!
6 Drinks A LOT Of Cranberry Juice
Padma has an interesting relationship with cranberry juice: she drinks it three times a day! That seems like a lot, because it is! She uses it as a cleanse and a way to keep her weight in check, and is known to mix it with green tea and fiber to complete her concoction. It doesn’t sound too bad, and we’re sure most people would jump on board with it if they could be in tip-top shape like Padma is!
5 Founded Endometriosis Foundation Of America
After many long and painful years of suffering with the disease, Padma made it her mission to educate and assist others that face the same concerns. She founded “Endofound” and has made it her personal mission to raise awareness about all aspects of this disease. Padma has used her status to create incredible awareness on this foundation's behalf.
4 Has A Daughter With American Venture Capitalist Adam Dell
Padma shares a daughter with venture capitalist Adam Dell. Krishna was born in 2010 and Adam’s identity was kept under wraps for a while. She eventually revealed his identity and it seems that she and Adam have grown closer together this year. Daily Mail reports that the two were seen hand-in-hand in May, and that she was sporting what appeared to be a massive diamond ring.
3 Born In India, Parents Divorced
Padma has a truly unique, exotic look. Her beauty has left many guessing about what her cultural roots may be. She is of Indian descent and comes from a divorced family. Her family divorced when she was only 2 years old and she has spent the bulk of her life with her mother & her maternal side of the family.
2 She & Her Mother Moved To The USA
At the time of her parents’ divorce, the concept of divorce itself was not widely accepted in India. In order to evade the negative stigma associated with the breakdown of her marriage, Padma’s mother fled the country for the United States, and left Padma with her grandmother until she was able to send for her daughter to join her.
1 Grew Up In New York And LA
Moving to the US was an adjustment for Padma and her mother. They started their journey in New York, and after they gained traction there, Padma eventually made the move to Los Angeles, California, where she currently resides. Much of her career has been established as a result of being conveniently located in the hub of Hollywood success.
Sources: People, Daily Mail, Today Show, Fitness Magazine, Food Network