ET caught up with Padma Lakshmi on Wednesday at the 7th Annual Women in the World Summit in New York, where she opened up about Hollywood’s Photoshop controversies, her health and male feminists.
Following Kerry Washington’s latest Photoshop scandal, in which it appears Adweek altered her image to give her a lighter complexion on the cover of their April 4 issue, Lakshmi admitted that she too has had to deal with unwanted Photoshopping.
“It happened to me actually and I was really angry about it. I like the color of my skin,” Lakshmi told ET. “It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable with who I am and I think when you’re a brown person living in a white world, it’s especially sensitive. I also ask people not to retouch my scar, because I thought it was important for other young women to see that it’s not all perfect.”
Lakshmi conceded that while the above instances of Photoshopping tend to be offensive, not all tweaks are bad.
“I’m not going to lie, I don’t mind when they retouch the stretch marks a little!” she said. “I’m not above that, but I think there has to be a bit of good sense and gentleness about it.”
In addition to advocating healthy body image, Lakshmi also raises awareness for endometriosis, a disorder that attacks women by making the tissue that normally lines the uterus grow outside of the uterus. Lakshmi, 45, didn’t discover that she was afflicted with the disorder until she was 36.
“I was very shocked that I didn’t get diagnosed in time and I do have access, thankfully, to good medical care,” she said. “I just didn’t want other young girls or women to go through that. There are lots of things that we can’t do something about, but there’s really good treatment for endometriosis. There’s no cure, but if you catch it early in a young person’s life, you can change the quality of her life forever.”
Health advice isn’t the only wise words that Lakshmi is passing on to young women, she’s also recommended that ladies only date men who are feminists. The author and TV host filled ET in on how to spot a male feminist.
“They’re usually handsome,” Lakshmi said with a giggle. “They have a good sense of humor and they’re usually secure in their own skin. They don’t need to take anything away from a woman to feel like a man.”