Padma Lakshmi Says She Eats 8,000 to 9,000 Calories a Day on 'Top Chef'

The 52-year-old TV personality and former model opened up about her recent 'Sports Illustrated' swimsuit shoot.

Padma Lakshmi had quite the challenge when she got the call to appear in Sports Illustrated's recent swimsuit issue. The 52-year-old TV personality and former model was coming off of filming the most recent season of Top Chef, and admitted that she was "freaking out" when she received the call to appear in the iconic magazine's special issue.

"I would have killed for it when I was in my 20s and a model because it is the holy grail and they never even called me for anything like this. And I really thought that ship had passed, to be honest," Lakshmi shared of the opportunity on Monday's Jimmy Kimmel Live. "So when I got the call now a few months ago, I was like, 'You're f**king s***ting me, really?' I did not believe the news on the phone. And then I started freaking out."

Lakshmi wanted to get in shape for the revealing shoot after consuming mass amounts of calories while filming Top Chef.

"I was like, 'I gotta go to the gym. Oh my god!' Luckily, I was already hitting the gym pretty hard because it had been just a month since I got home from filming Top Chef," she revealed.

As for how many calories a day the Top Chef host consumes during filming, it's likely more than fans think.

"First half of the season when we have a lot of contestants, eight or nine thousand calories a day, easily," Lakshmi shared.

Lakshmi, who is both the host and executive producer of the cooking competition, has received 14 Emmy nominations for her work on Top Chef.

In a new video for Sports Illustrated, Lakshmi opened up about why shooting the coveted campaign was important to her.

"It's important to show women of all ages, body types, skin colors and show that beauty is so vast and broad of a spectrum," Lakshmi said in the clip. "And so when young women see this, I hope they see that they have a long life to live and that experience and wisdom actually makes you more interesting."

She added that even though she was "pretty nervous" to participate in the shoot at 52, the proud mom is embracing her body.

"I'm thankful for my body for it allowing me to have a baby, for it allowing me to eat like I do, and all that it's given me," she shared.