Every now and again, someone gets the fame they deserve. Rachel Maddow is photographed by Roger Erickson for the Out 100 this year, the magazine's tally of the 100 gay people who made the biggest impact in America in 2008. From Julia Baird's profile in Newsweek:
The greatest media-created cliché about Maddow has been that her "meteoric rise" has been almost accidental, that the truck-driving, yard-clearing, erstwhile activist became an "unlikely" star once the MSNBC heads recognized her potential. That's clearly a fiction.
Her résumé is impressive: she studied public policy at Stanford before winning a Rhodes scholarship to undertake a Ph.D. in political science. While completing her thesis, Maddow worked odd jobsunloading trucks, landscaping, stamping coffee packetsbefore entering a competition on local radio. She was offered a job that day. In 2004, she got her own show on Air America, which still airs nightly. Before long, the cable-TV networks anointed her as one of their favorite leftist pundits, and not long after that, MSNBC star Keith Olbermann pressured his bosses to give Maddow her own show. Maddow's partner, artist Susan Mikula, believes the "unlikely" label is just code for lesbian: "She goes from Stanford to Oxford to activism to radio, then TV? What's so unusual about that? Is it because she is a gay lady?"
Here's her Conan interview: