We love reading up on lesbians who made an impact on LGBT history, but we had to wonder: who are the lesbians who are currently making an impact on history right now? Enter Rachel Maddow, the first openly gay anchor to become the host of a major prime-time US news program.
Rachel is the “It Girl” of commentary television today. A liberal and lesbian, she’s opinionated enough to fit in the contemporary media landscape.
She’s also one of the most admired celebrities in news television, constantly hitting the number one spot in the ratings game.
Rachel Maddow zooms up the ratings
Rachel certainly made a good impression with her audience when she made her debut on television.
A week after The Rachel Maddow Show moved from syndicated radio to cable television in September 2009, it beat Larry King Live, which had been reigning a long time at the top of the ratings.
What’s more, her show got a ton of positive reviews. For example, Matea Gold of Los Angeles Times wrote: “Maddow found the right formula on MSNBC.”
“Her program adds a good-humored female face to a cable news channel whose prime time is dominated by unruly, often squabbling schoolboys; Ms. Maddow’s deep, modulated voice is reassuringly calm after so much shrill emotionalism and catfights among the channel’s aging, white male divas,” New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley pronounced.
With her potshots at the Republican Party, she’s definitely no conservative. This could explain why Rachel shows up strong with the 25-to-54 age demographic.
The rise of Rachel Maddow, media personality
So how did Rachel manage to make herself the face of prime-time liberal media in her rise to broadcast fame?
A native of California, Rachel began a career in radio in 1999 after winning the contest as a sidekick in Massachusetts’ The Dave in the Morning Show.
She quickly went up ladder. Soon, she was hosting her own radio shows and guesting in television shows by 2005.
Later on, Rachel gained a top supporter in veteran sports and political commentator Keith Olberman, who pushed MSNBC top honchos to give Rachel her own show.
Who is Rachel Maddow: jock or outsider?
In a sense, Rachel is able to give a voice to the 25-to-54 demographic because she identifies with Generation X.
This can be seen when she made a reference to the movie The Breakfast Club when she was interviewed by Vogue in 2009.
“I grew up on a lot of John Hughes movies, so by calling myself a jock I don’t want you to think that I was a dick,” she said in reference to the fact that she was into sports in high school.
However, she added that she was more of a cross between the jock and “the antisocial girl who bit people.”
This hybrid personality she had developed growing up is what she brought to the world– which the world, in turn, can’t get enough of.
Rachel Maddow and Susan Mikula, partners
Of course, we also have to talk about Rachel Maddow, lesbian.
Rachel never had qualms about her sexuality. When she was interviewed in the school paper as a freshman in Stanford, she told them she was “only one of the two gays in campus.”
She met her long-time girlfriend, artist Susan Mikula, when she did yard work for her. This was in 1999 when Rachel was doing her doctoral dissertation.
“It was very Desperate Housewives,” Rachel told People on how their relationship began.
All these elements tie up to who Rachel Maddow is: aggressive, whip-smart, liberal, and lesbian.