Author Salman Rushdie's ex-wife Padma Lakshmi once turned down a photoshoot with Helmut Lang because she was too nervous to pose nude for him.

Lakshmi claims she was the first model ever to cancel on the fashion designer/photographer because she just couldn't bear the thought of baring all.

Now a U.S. Tv personality, the Indian-born beauty tells Playboy magazine, "I got cold feet. He called to book me again six or seven weeks later. This time he said it wasn't going to be nude - just topless. He said I could put my hair in front (to cover my breasts)."

On set, she realised Lang wasn't interested in her body at all apart from the scar left by a car accident when she was 14.

She adds, "It's a mark of survival, and I definitely think it made me who I am.

"Beautiful girls are a dime a dozen, and everybody wants to work with a photographer like Helmut Lang. It was the scar that made him notice me. He loved my scar."