“Yup those are my nipples. So what?” she captioned a photo on Instagram from her cover shoot for the magazine. “We have all become so afraid of what a woman’s natural body actually looks like these days. Thank you @elleindiaofficial for not airbrushing them out!”
The Top Chef host – who visited Goa for the first time during her shoot – also went on to defend her changing body. “They used to be a bit higher but you know #littlehands, that thirsty little bugger!!!” she wrote of nursing her daughter Krishna, 6.
But Lakshmi hasn’t always been this comfortable in her skin. In an interview with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle, the author of Love, Loss, And What We Ate, revealed she was bullied in school because of her looks.
“I was this tall when I was 13 in eighth grade. I had a very long neck, I used to get called E.T., Skeletor, giraffe, you name it,” she said.
Lakshmi says she was also mocked because of her culture and went as far as temporarily changing her name to Angelique for four years of high school.
“I think you don’t have to be Indian to identify with the immigrant experience,” she said. “I think everyone has experienced feeling like an outsider. And it’s something that I’ve carried with me – it’s like this invisible shadow that’s there because I was always flitting between cultures, so I was never really at home in one, and never really an outsider in the other.