Padma Lakshmi explained why she’s more comfortable shooting nude photos when a woman is behind the camera.
The Top Chef host, 51, took to Instagram on Thursday to post a series of throwback photos of herself wearing jewelry, heels — and nothing else. The Love, Loss, and What We Ate author explained in her caption that the “unearthed” images were taken by photographer and director Ellen von Unwerth, after model Iman “roped” her into doing the shoot as part of a collection to be auctioned off for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“All the photos were made into a book called ‘Four Inches’, which was sponsored by @jimmychoo and @cartier - that’s why we donned little more than the sky-high heels and jewelry,” she explained in the caption. “I loved working with Ellen on this shoot. There’s always a playful exuberance to her work. Shooting with a woman, especially when nude, is often easier because there’s an understanding that you’re in it together somehow.”
Lakshmi’s followers loved the trip down memory lane. One wrote, “You simply are one of my favourite people that I follow. You are such a down to earth, kind and beautiful person that I think you are so special and unique. There is no one like you ever.” Another added, “True beauty, from both you and Ellen. Thank you for sharing!”
Lakshmi has also used her social media in recent weeks to discuss social issues like the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, which eliminated federal protections for abortion rights. In a July 4 Instagram post, she shared a red, white and blue cake with the words “Separate Church and State.” She captioned the pic, “Not much to celebrate this 4th, I’m afraid. Let’s just hope everyone can keep safe and peaceful today and that soon our nation veers away from this precipice. No matter what, we’ll keep fighting for the day where all humans have the same rights, at least of their own person and body, have privacy to make their own choices and to love whom they love and live in peace.”
While the Indian-American star has long worked in the public sphere as a model and later as a host of programs like Top Chef and now Hulu’s Taste the Nation, she didn’t always see people like herself portrayed in a positive light in the media. In a March interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she recalled feeling disappointed in the negative ways Indian people were portrayed in films like Indiana Jones. Now, she wants to be an example for people like her — many of whom she connects with on social media.
“There's a lot that has been positive for me from social media," she explained at the time. "It has been wonderful because I have been able to connect with all the brown folk from all over the country who do DM me. I don’t read all of the DMs, but when they comment on a cooking video or something I’ve posted, I read those comments, and those have also buoyed me up.”
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