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"I love my scar."
-- Padma Lakshmi, 37, award-winning cookbook author (her latest, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, debuts this month) and host of Bravo's Top Chef
When Lakshmi started modeling after college, perfection ruled the runways. "I felt like I wasn't even in the same universe as these women," she says. Why? Lakshmi was The One With The Scar. A serious car accident at the age of 14 broke her pelvis, shattered her arm, and permanently marred her right hand -- the one she used to punch through the windshield in an effort to free herself. Her arm now carries a 7-inch reminder of the ordeal. "While I was self-conscious about the scar when I was younger -- I'd stand just so, to hide it with my other arm -- I never thought, Poor me," she says. Much to her surprise, designers and photographers were drawn to her scar. She got booked because of it. And her fans, well, they think the scar is hot. "Guys seem to love it. It makes me seem fleshy and rugged and human to them," says Lakshmi. "And women respond to it too: It shows that not everything is perfect."