Culinary personality Padma Lakshmi is a vision in front of the camera—whether she’s hosting Hulu’s Taste the Nation or serving fierce poses for major modeling campaigns with brands like Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Ralph Lauren and Alberta Ferretti.
The 53-year-old SI Swimsuit model was featured in this year’s magazine after being photographed by Yu Tsai on the breathtaking Caribbean Island of Dominica.
While on location with the magazine, the New York City resident admitted that she thought a feature with the brand was totally out of reach since she had passed her peak modeling days.
“I really thought that the Sports Illustrated ship had sailed for me, or the possibility of it, and I’d never done it before. But I have never felt better about myself. I love where I am in my life, and no, my body’s not perfect by any means, but I don’t care. I feel like I have a very lucky, fruitful, productive life, and I hope that’s what [people] see when they see these pictures. I hope they see a full woman in all my facets and nuances, and also some contradictions,” she said. “I was a little bit freaked out because I knew that I couldn’t get as tight and lean as I could if I had some more time. But then I just looked in the mirror and I reminded myself, I’m not here because I’m the world’s greatest model. I’m here because I’m me.”
Below are six jaw-dropping photos of the mom of one in Dominica.