Photo Credit: www.startraksphoto.com
Shaking it like her mama gave her is something Padma Lakshmi’s 20-month-old daughter Krishna (pictured in 2010) loves to do. And her singer and song of choice is expectant mom Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” “She is obsessed with Beyonce,” Lakshmi tells iVillage. “Like, she’ll say, ‘Beyonce? Beyonce?’ And she does the “Uh oh, Uh oh.’”
Lakshmi, 41, has her hands full these days, between motherhood (she recently teamed up with Huggies Little Movers Slip-On diapers for a Baby Loves Disco event) and the new season of the hit Bravo show Top Chef, which premiered on Nov. 2. After struggling with endometriosis for years, the single mom (Krishna’s dad is venture capitalist Adam Dell) also cofounded the nonprofit Endometriosis Foundation of America with her doctor to help educate women and fund research about the condition that often goes undiagnosed and is a leading cause of infertility.
iVillage caught up with the Lakshmi recently about Krishna’s adorably “opinionated” nature, the new season of Top Chef and her mission to educate other women about endometriosis, the condition that made her believe she’d never be able to have children.
You recently participated in the Huggies Baby Loves Disco event. Does Krishna have any favorite songs that she likes to dance to?
Oh yes, she is obsessed with Beyonce.
She asked for Beyonce on the iPod. Like, she’ll say, “Beyonce? Beyonce?” And she does the “Uh oh, Uh oh.” I can’t sing it right now.
That is so cute. So she’s a “Single Ladies” fan.
Yes, she does…she said yesterday, “I’m a single lady.”
Is she talking much?
Yes, she’s very verbal. It’s wonderful because obviously she can let you know exactly what she’s thinking or feeling. You know? She speaks in complete sentences like, “Take a bath, mommy.”
Tell me a little about your involvement with Huggies.
Huggies sent me these Little Movers Slip-On diapers, and the reason I like them is because I live in New York City and there’s never any space. Whenever we go out in any store or restaurant (the question is) where to find a changing table unless you’re in a big department store. Most of the time I’m always trying to kind of MacGyver it in a stall. It’s almost like those race-car mechanics when you have to stop for a pit stop you have to do everything quickly and you have 23 seconds to do it.
What milestones is Krishna reaching now at this age?
My daughter is bilingual, so she can count to ten in a few languages, which is always charming when your relatives come over. (Laughs) They are very happy about that.
Which languages does she speak?
She speaks my native language, which is Tamil. It’s a South Indian language. She’s running and dancing and talking. She has her own personality. She’s this fully-formed, tiny, opinionated girl.
What do you see of yourself in her?
I see a lot of my mother in her. She’s very fair-skinned, so I see a white version of my mom (Laughs).
What qualities about your mom?
Physically she has that kind of crazy curly hair like my mom. And, she just looks like my mom -- especially when she wakes up in the morning. Um, I mean, children parrot. So I’m sure she has a lot of my mannerisms and things that I say. But it’s hard for me because I’m totally not objective.
Right, but you can see those glimpses, those little moments when you say, “I remember I used to be that way.”
Well, I hear myself sounding like my mother too. You know? (Laughs)
Well, that’s unavoidable too, right?
You’ve been very open about your endometriosis and you have your own charity. Can you talk to me a little about that?
It’s called the EFA, it’s the Endometriosis Foundation of America and it seeks to educate young women and girls about their bodies and help prevent infertility, but also not just infertility, just a lifetime of pain and discomfort and illness. Endometriosis is not curable, but it’s definitely treatable if you diagnose it and manage it early. Plainly speaking, I didn’t want young girls to go through what I went through. Nobody wants to talk about their periods, nobody wants to talk about their bodies. I just thought that somebody should so that these young girls didn’t think they’re alone and that is treatment available. Because we are deferring motherhood until later in life and if we don’t know we have this problem, it may be too late. I didn’t want other women to go though what I saw some of my girlfriends going through.
You didn’t even think having a child was possible for you.
I was told that it wasn’t. I was told by doctors who were very well-versed on this that it wasn’t.
The new season of Top Chef is set in Texas. They say everything is bigger in Texas. Was the drama bigger in Texas?
Yes, it was. It was very big. And also the show is much bigger this season than it’s ever been. And the schedule was bigger. For instance, talking about a lifestyle on the go -- this time we don’t just stay in one city. We move four times in six weeks. And I’ll tell you, when you’re taking an infant along everything becomes that much more complicated.
Do you have a favorite family holiday tradition?
Yes, my favorite family holiday tradition for any holiday, whether it’s Thanksgiving or whatever, is to have everyone in the household, whether they’re tiny, tiny kids or very old grandparents, and everyone in between, help make whatever meal we’re serving. Whether it’s just washing some salad greens or whatever.
Top Chef airs Wednesdays on Bravo at 10 p.m. ET.
Serena Kappes is iVillage's Entertainment Editorial Director. Follow her on Twitter: @serenakappes