“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi sat down with TODAY to talk about how her passion for travel has influenced her life, her sense of style and her awareness of other cultures. She also shares her dreams for her young daughter.
I think travel has been the No. 1 influencer in my sense of style. It's opened me up to so much. It's made me aware of parts of the world I would never have otherwise heard about, and more than anything, it's allowed me to see myself in a new light.
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Any time a person can travel, I say: Go for it. You never know what adventure awaits you. You don't know how you're going to be changed by the experience. And you certainly don't know what kind of an impact the event will have on you.
Travel is just the best thing for educating yourself and becoming a more sophisticated, cultured person. It's an amazing way to see the world through the eyes of others.
To me, style means having your own sensibility. It means having a particular point of view that is individual and not something that's cookie-cutter. That's the difference between being a stylish woman and a fashionable woman. And when I travel, I learn that "unique" is synonymous with "good"; that "different" can mean "interesting" and "special."
I started traveling with my daughter, Krishna, from the time she was 6 weeks old. She's a perfect example of someone who's been on the road a lot and has learned, from the youngest possible age, the importance of accepting people for who they are, of learning from all different kinds of cultures.
I'm proud of that. I'm so proud to be able to pass down this global sensibility to her.
Of course, she's a biracial child, and by virtue of that, she's going to have two cultures that influence her upbringing regardless of where she travels in her life. But I would like her to have much more than that. I want her to be able to be discerning, to pick and choose the best of each culture when she's forming her own identity.
Hopefully, all of this will have a positive impact on who she is and who she wants to become.
—As told to TODAY's Rebekah Lowin