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Padma Lakshmi, 52, poses in string bikini for Sports Illustrated: ‘Never felt better’

The TV host is showing off her toned physique in a new photo shoot.
/ Source: TODAY

Padma Lakshmi hopes her latest magazine photo shoot inspires other women to start embracing their bodies.

The "Top Chef" host, 52, poses in a bathing suit for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and talks about the photo shoot in a new promotional video for the magazine.

“I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous,” she said about being asked to pose for the magazine. “I’m 52 years old, and I think I look great for my age and I definitely work at it."

“I love where I am in my life and know my body is not perfect by any means, but I feel beautiful. I feel like I have a very lucky, fruitful, productive life,” Lakshmi continued. “My thighs may have been leaner, and my boobs were probably slightly higher in earlier parts of my life, but I have never felt better about myself. I hope they see a full woman in all my facets and nuances and some contradictions. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me all the money in the world.”

The "Love, Loss and What We Ate" author showed off her figure in a series of bikinis for the magazine and explained why she felt compelled to take part in the project.

"It's important to show women of all ages, body types (and) skin colors and show that beauty is so vast and broad of a spectrum," she said.

Lakshmi then reflected on what she wants other women to take away from her photo shoot.

"When young women see this, I hope they see that they have a long life to live and that experience and wisdom and going through stuff actually makes you more interesting and enriches you as a person, both physically but also inside," she said.

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi at her Sports Illustrated photo shoot.YouTube

These days, the model said she's feeling "more confident" in her skin and she's focused on gratitude, especially when it comes to her body.

"I'm thankful for my body, for it allowing me to have a baby, for it allowing me to eat like I do and all that it's given me," she said.

Lakshmi's fans took to the comments section of the promotional video to shower the star with praise.

"Padma is from another planet where women never age and always look stunning!" one wrote. Another commented, "Absolutely stunning at this age great keep it up ma’am."

One YouTube user left the following message for the TV host: "Love you Padma. You are flawless ❤️."

This isn't the first time Lakshmi has spoken openly about body image. In 2017, she penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter about the effect her diet had on her young daughter, Krishna.

While explaining that she gained weight while filming "Top Chef," Lakshmi said her daughter noticed that she was trying to shed some pounds.

“Recently, I realized my daughter, who is 7, has been listening to me talk about my weight,’’ she wrote at the time. “She’s noticed, and suddenly she’s told me and others in our circle, ‘I don’t want to eat because I’m watching my figure,’ or, ‘I weigh too much.’ I wasn’t thinking anything of the sort when I was 7 or 10 or even 13.”

When her daughter started making comments about her own body, Lakshmi was understandably nervous.

“Her comments stopped me dead in my tracks,’’ she wrote. “Her words scared me. Language matters. We send signals to our daughters every day. And I am her first touchstone of femininity.”

The TV host added that she was inspired to change the way she approached body image after that instance.

“So, this year, I’ve decided my weight will not be my focus,’’ she wrote. “If I need a bigger dress, so be it. That one day — or any day — on the red carpet isn’t nearly as important as making sure my daughter doesn’t measure her worth by her dress size.”

CORRECTION (May 4, 2023, 10:50 A.M. ET): A previous version of the story stated that Lakshmi was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She did not appear on the cover of the magazine.