The wave of hate crimes in the U.S. has hit too close to home for TV chef Padma Lakshmi - her driver's daughter is in the hospital following an acid attack.
The Top Chef star, who was born in India and raised in the U.S., admitted the recent spate of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans, especially the shooting deaths of six women in Georgia earlier this month, triggered some painful memories.
"I was kind of in an altered state when I heard about Georgia," Lakshmi told Deadline's New Hollywood podcast.
"I have a guy who's my driver, who takes my family to and from the airport... He's been driving my daughter to school for safety... and his daughter, who I've been hearing about for the last 12 years, who is 21, last week she had someone throw acid in her face," she revealed.
"Right now she is in intensive care and we cannot figure out who did this or why to her... I've never met her but I know her so well after so many hours in the car with her father, learning about her... and I can't stop thinking about her life and how right now, she can't see, she can't speak, because of the acid (attack) and she's in a burn unit," Lakshmi continued.
"This is a normal, healthy young woman, who has her whole life ahead of her, and then the day after, I heard about what happened in Georgia," she shared, confessing: "what I find most difficult is, honestly, how to manage my anger."
But the former model isn't shocked, because she has been discriminated against because of her skin colour her whole life - and the uncomfortable topic raised its head for her latest culinary show, Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, which debuted on streaming service Hulu last year.
"We had to look into a lot of this painful stuff for Taste the Nation, because it's a show about immigrants," she said.
"It's a political show masquerading as a food show... I was looking at a lot of this research and this (violence) is state-sanctioned, state-encouraged misogyny, xenophobia, and racism," Lakshmi went on, adding: "I'm horrified but also shocked that any of us (Asians) got this far with all of the things that were happening all along... underneath the surface."