Padma Lakshmi was born September 1, 1970 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu India to a Keralite father who was a Pfizer executive and his first wife Vijaya, a nurse who specialized in suicide prevention. She grew up shuttling between her grandparents in Chennai and her mother in New York. She was her parents' only child from this marriage. Her parents separated when she was one and 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, Padma was in a car accident in Malibu, causing an injury to her right arm that required surgery, which left a 7-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder. The incident happened on a Sunday afternoon as Padma was being driven home from a Hindu temple in Malibu. She remembers a flash of orange, looking over to see the large car upon her. Padma describes the event in the April 2001 edition of Vogue, saying, "Being in a car crash was like an exhilarating hallucination, an unbelievable moment that oddly remains one of the most beautiful images in my memory." The car left Padma with injuries that included a fractured right hip and a shattered upper right arm.
EducationLakshmi went to Workman High School in the City of Industry, California. Lakshmi is a 1992 graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, where she received a B.A. with honors in Theatre Arts.
She speaks English, Tamil, Hindi, Italian, Dutch, French, and American Sign Language. 
ModelingLakshmi's career began at age 16, when she was discovered by a modeling agent in India 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."
She has modeled for top designers such as Emanuel Ungaro, 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.
She has appeared on the cover 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.
CookbooksHer first cookbook Easy Exotic was awarded Best First Book at the 1999 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. She also hosted two one-hour specials on India and Spain for the British culinary tourism show Planet Food, which have been broadcast on the Food Network in the US and internationally on the Discovery Channels. Her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, was released October 2, 2007.
Movies and televisionLakshmi had a comical supporting role as the lip synching disco singer Sylk in the 2001 American movie Glitter with Mariah Carey. She starred with Amitabh Bachchan and Jackie Shroff in the 2003 Hindi action film Boom as Shiela Bardez, one of a trio of super models accused of stealing diamonds. Lakshmi was last seen on screen with Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott, as Geeta in Paul Mayeda Berges' 2005 film The Mistress of Spices. She will be starring in Deepa Mehta's upcoming film, Komagata Maru which was earlier titled Exclusion.
Lakshmi made a 2002 guest appearance as alien princess Kaitaama in "Precious Cargo", the 37th episode of the science fiction TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. She was also hostess of Domenica In, Italy's top-rated television show. She portrayed Sean Bean's nemesis in the 2004-2005 iTV 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 took over as host of the popular TV cooking competition series Top Chef in 2006 during its second season and has continued every season since then.
Since her Tamil pronunciation is spot on, in an interview she was asked whether she will do any Tamil films in future. Lakshmi said such an offer would be cool and she also said that she would love to meet Kamal Haasan.
Music videoIn 2009, Lakshmi starred in the Eels video for the song "That Look You Give That Guy" playing the love interest of Mark Oliver Everett.
Jewelery designCombining her culinary and fashion style tastes, Lakshmi launched her first line of jewelery in 2009. Entitled "Padma", the first collection consisted of forty pieces.
Personal lifeOn April 17, 2004, in New York City, Lakshmi married the novelist Salman Rushdie, 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).
endometriosis, a condition that causes pelvic pain and has been associated with infertility, Lakshmi confirmed that she was pregnant. Lakshmi also co-founded The Endometriosis Foundation of America, which is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing awareness, education, research, and legislative advocacy against the disease On February 20, 2010, Lakshmi gave birth to a baby girl named Krishna Thea Lakshmi. Although the father's identity was not initially given, it was later revealed to be Adam Dell. In January 2011, Dell sued Lakshmi for full custody of their daughter.
Lakshmi was brought up as a vegetarian and has admitted that because of this, she sometimes becomes "squeamish" when sampling other cultural delicacies. However, in 2009, she starred in a television advertisement created by Mendelsohn Zien Advertising 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.
|1995||Unzipped||Documentary (High Fashion)||Herself|
|1997||Linda e il brigadiere |
ep: "Il fratello di Linda"
|TV Series (Italian, Comedy)||Indian Lady|
|1998||Il Figlio di Sandokan||TV Series (Italian, Drama)|
|1999||Caraibi||TV Series (Italian, Adventure)||Malinche|
|2000||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–present||Top Chef||TV Series (US, Reality/Cooking)||Host|
|2009||30 Rock||TV Series (US, Comedy)||Herself|