Lakshmi at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
|Native name||Tamil: à®ªà®¤à¯à®®à®¾ à®ªà®¾à®°à¯à®µà®¤à®¿ à®²à®•à¯à®·à¯à®®à®¿ à®µà¯ˆà®¤à¯à®¯à®¨à®¾à®¤à®©à¯|
|Born||Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynathan
September 1, 1970
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Occupation||Model, author, actress, TV host|
|Spouse(s)||Salman Rushdie (m. 2004; div. 2007)|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
In truth, I am a single mother. But I don't feel alone at all in parenting my daughter. Krishna has a whole other side of her family who loves her, too. And so Krishna is parented by me, but also by her grandmother and aunts and cousins and uncles and friends.
I'm an immigrant kid who came to America from India when I was very young and grew up in New York City with a single mom and really was influenced by all of those immigrant cultures bumping up against each other.
I usually doze off between 7:30 and 9 p.m. while putting my baby to sleep. Then I suddenly wake up remembering I'm an adult with no bedtime. I spend the next four hours catching up on reading, e-mails, and other adult pursuits until I collapse for good until sunrise.
I like me better naked. I don't mean that in a vain way… When you put clothes on, you immediately put a character on. Clothes are adjectives, they are indicators. When you don't have any clothes on, it's just you, raw, and you can't hide.
I don't have any stigma attached to my body. When I'm in my own private space, I have very little on.
I tend to sleep in the nude… I'm a sensual-leaning woman. You have to use the word 'leaning' or it sounds like I'm boasting.
I have great empathy for all the contestants that come on 'Top Chef,' whether they go home right away or they make it to the finish line. It's a very vulnerable position they put themselves in and I feel for them.
Whenever I'm in sync with the trends, it's always an accident. I still love wearing clothes I've had for ten years. I think understated luxury is the chicest thing.
You don't want your jewelry to make you look fat. A lot of what's out there now does – you just wind up looking like a Christmas tree.
During the course of filming 'Top Chef,' I gain 15 lbs., so I'm used to needing two dress sizes.
I'm not attached to things at all. I'm very lucky to have quite a few beautiful things, but if I look back at my life, I was often happiest when I had very little.
The best thing you can do for someone is make them a beautiful plate of food. How else can you invade someone's body without actually touching them?
For a long time, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was desperate to find something that fit me and I just decided that if I could organically make a professional living out of the things that interested me, then I would be a happy person.
I wasn't like those girls who give birth and are back on the runway. It took me probably six months to gain 45 pounds and I would say it took me double that time to lose it.
I'm the kind of girl who thinks about what she's gonna cook for dinner when she's finishing her lunch.
I never Tweet about my daughter. Never. I just want to be respectful of her privacy. My job as a mom is to know when to open my mouth and when not to.
I was the first Indian model to have a career in Paris, Milan and New York.
I love seafood. I'm not a vegetarian but I'm probably a pescetarian.
I've always thought the back is one of the most beautiful parts of a woman. I've created four versions of the front-to-back necklace which actually gives you two necklaces in one. I love the way they swing and catch the light as a woman is walking away. You almost want to pull on it and stop her!
Jewelry should not upstage you. I pick one hot point on my body that I'm going to highlight. Let one area do the singing – you don't want to hear three songs at once.
I think wine is such a big universe that it's kind of like food – it's intimidating to a lot of people, myself included.
I'm not of the American ilk that, you know, your lover needs to be your best friend and know you inside out. I think he should know you well enough to please you. Otherwise, what secret will there be to tell him when you're ninety?
I was lucky to have a successful career as a model, but that was just a way to pay off my college loans.
Flowers die and wine gets consumed. Both are lovely. I appreciate both. Wine and roses. I actually had someone bring me a lobe of foie gras once.
From the simple stringing together of lemon garlands for the goddess Durga, to dividing the prasadam or blessed foods for the children first, I came to associate food not only with feminity, but also with purity and divinity.
I've always had a fantasy to write a cookbook, because everyone wants to know what a model eats.
Part of my job as a food writer is to describe food. So my work on 'Top Chef,' I feel, is an extension of that. When we give a criticism to the contestant, we want to make sure we tell them why it's not working and why it would work if they did it a different way.
I am a sufferer of endometriosis. I didn't want any young women to go through what I went through. I thought that people should know about it.
All chefs are like Jewish mothers. They want to feed you and feed you and impress you. It's an eagerness to please.
It doesn't matter how precisely the onion is cut as long as the person chewing it is happy.
One thing that happens when you're pregnant is that as your stomach starts to stretch. It itches! So I have to keep my belly really lubricated. Every morning, there's a buttering ceremony after I get out of the shower. It's really like basting a turkey with body butter.
I've been a model for 15 years, and I've been on 'Top Chef' for eight seasons, and before that I had other cooking shows, so I've learned a thing or two about how to camouflage certain areas and how to draw the eye to a preferable area of the body.
If you like a wine that you drink, now with your phone, it's so easy. Just take a picture of the label. You learn about it. You learn where it comes from and what the soil is like and why you like it. And that'll lead you to another wine.
For a while, I became an atheist; now that I'm grown up, though, I'm not hard-edged enough to be an atheist. Even though I live with a flaming atheist, I love going to temple. I love all the rituals.
I know most people use their phones to tell time, but there's something very romantic and beautiful about a timepiece.
People are thrown off by someone who looks feminine, but is also strong. It's not that pretty girls aren't smart, it's that women aren't strong.
People always comment about my clothes. They don't think a fashionable woman can love food and be knowledgeable and actually cook.
My first taste memory is pickle. Even as a kid, I was really weird. I liked chillis. I used to climb up the shelves in my grandmother's pantry. The pickle jar was kept right at the top. One time, I dropped the jar and it broke. I was totally busted.
Wine, like food, is so emotional. If you think about it, so much of the courting ritual is surrounded by wine and food. There's a built-in romance to wine.
My mom was scared of the old Times Square so I was never allowed to go. Now I'm scared of the new Times Square, so I still never go.
Every country I would go to, even if it was just on a modeling job, I would go to their markets. If I went to Morocco for 'Elle' magazine, I would be in the spice markets during my off time and just come back with a suitcase full of stuff that I really wanted to try.
The cookbooks and the writing in general have been a real bonus, but it's not something I've ever pursued… I've been lucky, I guess.
I grew up a vegetarian. Then, because I grew up in the states, I started slowly eating meat. First it was bologna sandwiches, or pepperoni on pizza.
I love to use a lot of spices when I cook, so we actually cast a real peppercorn in gold and then just made a bead out of it for necklaces and earrings.
Whether I'm making a recipe or a piece of jewelry or a white-rose-and-jasmine tea or the perfume, I like to think of myself as a happy little sorceress, and if I could just have a little general store with all that stuff and give people a sense of my taste, that would be lovely.
I am as omnivorous as it's possible to be. I always say there's nothing I won't eat and nothing I won't wear.
You don't need expensive classes and all kinds of weird equipment if you really want to be in shape. There are great ways to do it that are very economical, it just takes a time commitment, even if it means waking up a half hour a day before the rest of the household gets up because that's the only time you have.
I work out all the time! I don't just sit around and eat burgers whenever I want. Oh, if I could I probably would, but I don't.
I love clothes, but really I don't have that much to say about skirts. Before I was writing, I went to fashion shows only when the designer was a good friend and I was there to show support.
I think eating in itself is the act of great sensuality, so all you have to do is point the camera in the right direction.