Padma Lakshmi is hopeful she can knock Martha Stewart off her perch in three decades’ time as the oldest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model in the brand’s history.
“I hope,” Lakshmi, 52, told Page Six Style exclusively at The Moth Gala recently when asked about the potential.
“I mean, listen, if I’m still doing covers like she is at 80 plus. I mean, God, more power to her. And she’s always been someone I’ve admired, so why should this be any different?,” the “Top Chef” judge added.
Stewart made history earlier this month as she became, at age 81, the oldest cover gal in the magazine’s history in a stunning white one-piece.
“When I heard that I was going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s pretty good, I’m going to be the oldest person I think ever on a cover of Sports Illustrated,’” she told the magazine, adding, “And I don’t think about age very much, but I thought that this is kind of historic.”
The celebrity chef added, “Age is not the determining factor in terms of friendship or in terms of success, but what people do, how people think, how people act, that’s what’s important and not your age.”
Lakshmi, 52, also appeared in the swimsuit edition, showing off her curves in a slew of beachy looks including one bikini made of shells.
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The Bravo star told Page Six recently that when her publicist called her with the invite, she thought it was a prank.
“I was like, ’No, you’re s–tting me.’ Literally, I was like, ‘That’s not true, it’s so surreal,’” she recalled with a laugh. “
And happening later in her modeling career made it all the more meaningful for Lakshmi.
“I thought it would happen one day for me when I was in my 20s and 30s and a model, but it never did,” she explained, “so I really thought that ship had sailed. So it’s almost sweeter happening at this age.”
It’s been a busy few months for the cookbook author having been named one of TIME 100’s Most Influential People in the world and the second season of her cooking and travel show, “Taste the Nation.”
“I feel surreal,” she shared. “I’ve just been so tired that I haven’t really had time to process it. But I’m very thankful that people love the show and I’m really honored about the Time 100 thing, You know, I could have never foreseen that. And Sports Illustrated is fun, you know?”
Lakshmi recently shared a clip from “Taste the Nation” that saw her getting emotional over a pig’s slaughter.
“I didn’t cry, but I did feel very shaken up,” she confessed. “I don’t know. I’ve never done that before. And, you know, I grew up a vegetarian, so it was hard.
But as I said in the video, I thought it was important to know where our food comes from. And as a food professional, too, I think it’s important to know what goes on.”