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Padma Lakshmi reveals unexpected truth behind instantly-viral Sports Illustrated bikini photo shoot

The Top Chef star looked fabulous in a gold chain bikini for her latest photo shoot

Padma Lakshmi  at the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz ColonOnline News WriterNew York
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Padma Lakshmi may have impressed all of her fans and beyond when she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's latest swimsuit issue, but she wasn't so sure she would be able to pull it off.

While the Top Chef star, 52, certainly looked amazing in her gold chain bikini, she now has explained just how little time she had to work on her physique in time to bare it all.

The famous cook revealed she only had three weeks to prepare for the photo shoot, which took place in Dominica earlier this year.

WATCH: Teaser for the second season of Padma Lakshmi's "Taste the Nation"

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Speaking with Page Six at a Cinema Society screening for Season 2 of Hulu's Taste the Nation, she did say: "Luckily I was trying to lose the weight from Top Chef so I was in the gym a lot."

However, she revealed: "But I only had 3 weeks’ notice. It was surreal," and even shared with the outlet that when her publicist called her with the news that she had landed the coveted cover, she thought it was a prank.

MORE: Padma Lakshmi's famous ex-husband revealed

"I was like, 'No, you're [expletive] me.' Literally I was like, 'That's not true, it's so surreal,'" she said.

Padma Lakshmi on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue© Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
The author and chef made her debut appearance on SI

Nonetheless, she maintained she didn't subscribe to any intense diets, and explained: "I don't need to change my body. I just need to be toned and in shape. I'm not a different size now than before I got that call – I'm the same size," adding: "This was a three-week boot camp of boxing, jumping rope, working out with weights and rowing machines, every day."

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Despite the short notice, she appreciates and cherishes the opportunity now more than ever, and said: "I thought it would happen one day for me when I was in my 20s and 30s and a model, but it never did, so I really thought that ship had sailed. So it's almost sweeter happening at this age."

Padma reiterated the sentiment when sharing clips and behind-the-scenes moments from her photo shoot on her Instagram, writing in a caption: "This is me. I wouldn't go back to my 20s if you paid me all the money in the world."

"Too sexy, reporting this," joked Mindy Kaling at the time, as others also wrote in the comments section under post: "Gorgeous inside and out," and: "An actual goddess," as well as: "Okay this is EVERYTHING!! you’re incredible," plus another fan of hers added: "When I grow up, I want to be you! Sincerely, a 30 something year-old Indian woman."

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