For the first time since 2006, when Padma Lakshmi took over as host of Top Chef, the 46-year-old isn't worried about fitting into a tiny dress for the Emmys.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Lakshmi revealed that during filming for Top Chef, she consumes about 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day. After six weeks of filming, she says she typically gains anywhere from 10 to 17 pounds every season. And the crazy dieting it took to squeeze into a size 0 dress for the Emmys a few months later was just part of the job for the former model—until her seven-year-old daughter Krishna took notice.
"I find myself in the unique position of eating for a living while still being expected to look a certain way... let's call it 'red carpet ready,'" she wrote. "While I can clearly point to the many ways our society constantly reinforces this pressure, the truth is, my own vanity also plays a big role. I want to look good, to be fit and to fit into those fancy couture dresses."
VIDEO: Coinage: The Emmy Awards By the Numbers
"It's always a nail-biting extravaganza at fittings, praying that a few pretty dresses that came down the runway on a teenage model who is a size 0 will miraculously fit my 40-something body," she continued. "It's like a poem: no meat, no wheat, no cheese, no fried foods or sweets. And, of course, no alcohol."
This year, just as Lakshmi was set to begin her grueling pre-Emmys routine, she wrote that Krishna stopped her dead in her tracks.
"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,'" Lakshmi revealed. "Her comments stopped me dead in my tracks. Her words scared me. Language matters. We send signals to our daughters every day. And I am her first touchstone of femininity."
"Every message I telegraph about food and our bodies is important," she added. "So, this year, I've decided my weight will not be my focus. 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."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Padma.