I’m proud of my scars because they mean that I’ve had a life; an interesting one.

Whether you know her as the Emmy-nominated host of Bravo’s Top Chef series, or as an award-winning food writer and author, there is no evading Padma Lakshmi’s undeniable brand. The Indian-American actress, model, and lifestyle guru recently expanded her trademark to include The Padma Collection-a line of tabletop dishware, stemware and hand-blown glass décor pieces sold in Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide, and her Padma’s Easy Exotic collection of culinary products including frozen organic foods, fine teas, and natural spice blends sold at Costco.

Photo: macleans.ca/Trunk Archive

With all of this triumph, Lakshmi has also fared her share of tragedy, which she explores in her latest book, Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir. In this personal interview with SELF Magazine, the 46-year-old mogul talks about her challenges, her endometriosis diagnosis, and learning to embrace her scars-both figuratively and literally.

I’m happy to have a visual reminder, everyday, of how precious life is.