Fans React to Padma Lakshmi’s Stunning SI Swimsuit Photos

The TV host, mom, activist and best-selling author makes her debut with the magazine this month.
Padma Lakshmi was photographed by Yu Tsai in Dominica.

Padma Lakshmi was photographed by Yu Tsai in Dominica.

There’s quite literally nothing that Padma Lakshmi can’t do. The mom, best-selling author, activist and newest SI Swimsuit model is perhaps best known for being the longtime host of the Emmy Award-winning series Top Chef. She is also the creator and executive producer of Hulu’s Taste the Nation.

Lakshmi said she’s proud of achieving her SI Swimsuit debut at 52, and it’s so much “sweeter” to celebrate now than it would have been at the peak of her modeling career in her 20s. She hopes people see a whole, multi-faceted woman when they look at her SI Swimsuit photos.

“I love where I am in my life, and no, my body’s not perfect by any means, but I don’t care. I feel like I have a very lucky, fruitful, productive life, and I hope that’s what [people] see when they see these pictures,” she explained. “Of course it’s a visual image, but the reason that I hopefully move better in my body, the reason that I look beautiful now at this age especially, is not because of my skin—it’s because of what’s inside my skin. It’s because of my experiences, my learning and just being out in the world. People are more interesting as they become who they’re going to be as they age. I feel more beautiful now than I did when I was a model in my 20s. I probably looked more beautiful then, but I feel much more beautiful now.”

Tons of fans chimed in on Instagram about how seeing the first few teaser photos was the best and most unexpected way to start their Monday morning. Fellow South Asian trailblazers left sweet messages as well.

“I fainted,” Mindy Kaling commented.

“I cannot tell you how important and moving it is to see a South Asian woman on the cover of a magazine,” wrote Poorna Bell. “We never saw this while growing up - and not just any woman but this absolute queen. @padmalakshmi is AMAZING ❤️.”

“A GROWN woman!!!🔥 yes Padma doing it big for the brown girls,” someone added.

@padmalakshmi is the embodiment of sexy! She’s also extremely intelligent,” another gushed. “Love that you are featuring a mature woman too. 👏🙌 ❤️ #womensupportingwomen 🔥❤️👏.”

“Knocked it out of the damn park 🔥🔥🔥 all of us 20 and 30 year olds are wheezing,” one fan chimed.

“Beauty. Body. Brains 🔥,” another said.

“YESSSSSS 🙌 🙌 🙌 Padma is such a lovely, powerful, positive roll model. A truly beautiful example of empowerment,” someone else applauded. “Good choice, S.I.”

“I absolutely love her ❤️ just read her book,” another complimented. “She’s a force.”

“Gorgeous and so well respected as a woman, mom, author and chef🙌💗,” someone chirped.

“Someone packing more than knives 👀😂,” another cleverly commented.

Meet Padma Lakshmi—read the 2023 SI Swimsuit model’s full feature profile here.

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.