Padma Lakshmis found fame alright, but it wasnt easy. Shes modelled in Milan and Paris for Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace and Ralph Lauren. She did win some attention, "It was a wild time," she says, "I was in every tabloid." That was as one among many other models, but she was clearly getting there. She also lived in Spain and Morocco, moved to Los Angeles for six months, didnt find the big time she was looking for but did find a publisher for her cook-book Easy Exotic: A Models Low-Fat Recipes From Around the World. A book that got some attention even from the New York Times food editor - even for the recipes between liberally-spread low-cut shots of herself. Not everyone was generous. A critic panned this "luscious little volume written by a raven-haired, sloe-eyed Indian model" for bringing sex as the hottest ingredient in her dishes.
At 30 or so with a 24-inch waist, Padma is no anorexic adolescent. She starred in a TV mini-series in Italy and also acted in a film. A photographer in Madrid had shot her into a modelling career. From Italy she made her way to Hollywood. At a Los Angeles party she was introduced to Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman Miramax Films. She met him again at a film premiere. She didnt get into one of his films, but he sent her to Miramax Books. Easy Exotic resulted. And then came Rushdie who she met at a party given by Talk magazine late last year. Her effect on him is anybodys guess, but one report declared that he was "absolutely smitten."