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While many people know Padma Lakshmi as the former host of Top Chef, the creator of Taste the Nation and a New York Times best-selling author, around here, we enjoy referring to her as a 2023 SI Swimsuit model. The 53-year-old was photographed by Yu Tsai in Dominica for this year’s magazine.
Lakshmi, who previously worked as a model in her 20s, told SI Swimsuit that the opportunity came knocking at just the right time, as her self-confidence was at an all-time high.
“I love where I am in my life and know my body is not perfect by any means, but I feel beautiful. I feel like I have a very lucky, fruitful, productive life,” she stated. “My thighs may have been leaner, and my boobs were probably slightly higher in earlier parts of my life, but I have never felt better about myself. I hope they see a full woman in all my facets and nuances and some contradictions. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me all the money in the world.”
With a great grasp on the concept of beauty, Lakshmi hopes to pass her mindset on to her teen daughter, Krishna.
“She’s acutely aware of [the modeling] world and is interested in it,” she told SI Swimsuit. “I don’t want her to put that much focus on what she looks like. I try to tell her that your appearance is one part of you. Beauty is skin deep, but dumb and boring are to the bone.”
Below are a few of our favorite photos from Lakshmi’s eastern Caribbean feature in which both her inner and outer beauty shine through.