American Tamil Padma Lakshmi is one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023.
Sitting in the TITANS category amongst the likes of Lionel Messi, Beyoncé and Elon Musk, the 52 year old American author, activist, actress, model, philanthropist, and television host was born in Tamil nadu.
Padma is the host of “Top Chef”, currently in its 20th season, and the award winning “Taste the Nation” With Padma Lakshmi, which returns for a second season in May 2023 – where she travels across the states to learn how immigration and foods from different cultures contributed to American cuisine.
At 4, Padma and her mother moved to America. She would occasionally showcase Tamil food to American audiences, from thayir sadam with Ellen, to sharing cooking tips to her 1.4 million fans on instagram. “From the start, I clung to the familiar foods of my motherland. Food was a link to my grandparents in India, to quieter streets with familiar street vendors, to what I knew.”
Lakshmi, in addition to her extensive work producing cookbooks and television shows, is an avid activist for civil rights and women’s health.
She is the only Tamil in this year’s list, which features the most influential individuals from across the globe. The list celebrate the titans, pioneers, artists, leaders, and icons whose contributions are changing the world today.
Previous Tamil awardees include comedian Aziz Ansari, Sundar Pichai (Google / Alohabet), Raghuram Rajan (Economist), Palaniappan Chidambaram (Finance Minister), Kamala Harris (American Vice-President), Actress & film producer Mindy Kaling, British Tamil artist M.I.A aka Maya Arulpragasam and music composer A.R.Rahman. Canadian Tamil actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was named one of TIME’s NEXT 100 most influential people for 2021.
Filmmaker SS Rajamouli, was named among the top “Pioneers” of 2023. It’s been a whirlwind decade for the South Indian director and screenwriter with the success of his mammoth Babuhbali franchise, all the way to his latest high octane Telugu blockbuster RRR, which in 2023 won a Critics Choice Award for best foreign film. A song from the film,
Naatu Naatu, written by lyricist Chandrabose and composed by M.M. Keeravani won a Critics Choice Award, Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Song.