Padma Lakshmi

“America is beautiful because it’s full of all kinds of people. In Taste the Nation, I hope that I give as balanced a picture of these stories as I humanly can. Food is the language in which I process the world.

-Padma Lakshmi, episode 329 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Today, we sit with writer and television host Padma Lakshmi! At the top, we discuss the return of her Hulu docuseries Taste the Nation (6:40), a formative episode in El Paso, Texas (10:14), and how the show connects to Padma’s personal history (13:59). Then, she reflects on her childhood in New York City (16:07), a heartbreaking event at seven (19:05*), and her unexpected entry to the modeling industry (27:14).

On the back-half, we walk through the early years of her trailblazing career (35:52), the patriarchal systems she fought back against (40:58), and her painful essay in The Times in response to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (43:16*). To close, Padma talks about her powerful work through EndoFound (48:30), the activist underpinnings of Taste the Nation (51:21), and the stories she hopes to tell in years to come (54:44).

*At this time-code, there is a discussion about sexual assault.

Original illustration by Krishna ShenoiReference image by Inez & Vinoodh.

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