On Thursday, Padma Lakshmi was in Washington D.C. to raise awareness for a cause that is especially close to her heart: endometriosis. The Top Chef host suffers from the condition and is active in spreading the word. She continued to do just that when she met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on March 3 to try and get more education and funding for endometriosis. While there, Padma met with senators Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand, according to The Washington Post. She also met with National Institutes of Health officials, didn't sugarcoat her discussion. “I’m going to be talking about my vagina … but you’ll make it out of here — it will be okay," Padma said, adding, "No young girl should feel guilty, and no young girl should fall through the cracks."
Padma was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 36, and later founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America. In 2015, the organization launched the ENPOWR Project to help educate young women on the symptoms of endometriosis. "I wanted to raise awareness so that no young girl has to wonder what is wrong with her like I did for so many years," she said at the time.
She has also used her celebrity platform to applaud other stars for speaking up about their own struggles with endometriosis. Among those people are Girls star Lena Dunham, who wrote about having the condition in her Lenny newsletter back in November and, in February, pulled out of the show's publicity tour because of it.
Before she was an outspoken activist, Padma was a model. Check out these throwback modeling shots of Padma, below.