With her exotic looks, former model Padma Lakshmi has been able to single-handedly add a little spice to one of the country's favorite cooking shows. Padma Parvati Lakshmi was born in the state of Kerala, India, on September 1, 1970. Although she spent her childhood in India, she moved to the United States as an adolescent. When she was 14 years old, she was involved in a serious car accident in Malibu, California, injuring her right arm, which required surgery and left a seven inch scar between her elbow and shoulder. In 1992, she graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts with a B.A. with honors in Theater Arts. When Padma was 20, she was discovered by a modeling agent in Paris and went on to appear in ad campaigns for Roberto Cavalli and Versus and modeled for designers including Emanuel Ungaro, Ralph Lauren, and Alberta Ferretti. Her face has graced a number of magazine covers as well, including Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Following in the footsteps of many a famous model, Padma made the transition to film and TV, making a few appearances on Italian television in the late 1990s and making her big-screen US debut as singer 'Sylk' in Mariah Carey's infamous flop Glitter. She has also appeared in a number of Indian movies, guest starred on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise and has hosted two cooking shows, Britain's Planet Food and Melting Pot: Padma's Passport on the Food Network. In addition to her work in front of the camera, she has also written two cookbooks, Easy Exotic and Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet. On April 17, 2004, Padma married Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie. The marriage ended in divorce on July 2, 2007. This exotic beauty is probably best known as the host of the Bravo television series Top Chef which she has hosted for three seasons. Like a fine souffle, her successful career will surely continue to rise.
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