Margaret Minnicks has been writing for HubPages for a long time. She is an expert about a variety of subjects she writes about.
Rachel Maddow is an outspoken political commentator and the host of her own successful nightly talk show on MSNBC. Rachel is so good at her job that most people had no idea that she didn't set out to be a talk show host and certainly not one that covers politics.
Rachel's family and friends thought she would be a professor or an activist. She would have been successful at either one of them just as she is at her current job as the host of The Rachel Maddow Show.
About Rachel Maddow
Rachel Anne Maddow was born in California on April 1, 1973. She and her older brother were raised in a conservative Catholic household. Maddow identifies herself as a liberal. She has explained that she is in almost total agreement with the Eisenhower-era Republican party platform.
Rachel was an athlete when she attended Castro Valley High School. She excelled at basketball, volleyball, and swimming. When she was 17 years old, she enrolled at Stanford University to study public policy. She had a unique way of coming out of the closet. She wrote letters and placed them in all the bathroom stalls in her dormitory. She did so to let others who were struggling with who they were to know they were not alone. A local newspaper article was written about Rachel's method of coming out. Rachel's parents found out about their daughter when a clipping was mailed to them. Rachel said that at the time they didn't take the news well.
After college, Rachel worked for many years as a prison AIDS activist in San Francisco. In 1995, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in politics from Oxford's Lincoln College as a Rhodes scholar. She continued working as an activist after getting her Ph.D. For a while, she took odd jobs to make ends meet. The jobs included delivering packages, doing yard work, and working at a coffee bean factory. A video store wouldn't hire her.
Rachel Maddow's Career Path
Rachel's career path was an interesting one. She did not major in journalism in college. When she got a job as a morning announcer at a radio station, she enjoyed explaining things to people. It was Rachel's radio experience that led her to what she is doing today. In 2005, she began hosting her own three-hour radio show.
Rachel did not start off on MSNBC with her own show. While she was still working for an Air America radio show, she began guest hosting on CNN and MSNBC. It was her hosting on Tucker Carlson's show that made her want to be a host of her own show.
She started in June 2005 as a regular panelist on Tucker Carlson's show Tucker. In January 2008, she became a political analyst and was a regular panelist on MSNBC's Race for the White House with David Gregory as well as a frequent contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Her first time hosting a program on MSNBC was when she substituted for Olbermann. She received rave reviews, and Obermann pushed for her to get her own show on MSNBC.
His efforts worked because MSNBC's president Phil Griffin gave her Dan Abrams' time slot. The Rachel Maddow Show launched in August 2008 with positive reviews from The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press. Viewers had gotten accustomed to Rachel from her many guest hosting appearances on other MSNBC shows.
Format of "The Rachel Maddow Show"
Before showing up for her weeknight show, Rachel goes to the gym, goes fishing, or spends time with her partner. She begins preparing for her show around 12:30 p.m., but she doesn't begin writing until 4:30 or as late as 6:30 p.m. for her 9 p.m. show. She said she tried writing in the morning, but it just doesn't work for her.
It takes the host less than a minute to get dressed because she always knows what she will wear from the waist up, which is usually a black or dark blazer that she has been wearing for the past 11 years. The rest of her clothes includes jeans and sneakers that no one sees while she is behind her desk. Rachel is never seen in any colors except black or something dark. She wears no jewelry and barely any makeup. She wants the focus to be on what she says instead of what she wears.
Maddow has stated that her show's mission is to increase the amount of useful information in the world. She often begins a broadcast with a lengthy and in-depth monologue that sometimes lasts up to 24 minutes. Her monologues aren't boring at all because they are fresh without being a summary of what viewers have already heard during the day.
Rachel is always prepared. She keeps notes on her teleprompter that tells her when to smile, frown, laugh, move her hands, and when to give a brief pause. During her show, she displays humor, empathy, and evidence of serious research for millions of viewers.
Rachel Maddow's Honors and Awards
Rachel has received numerous honors and awards for her work as a political host.
Three Emmy Awards
- In 2011, Maddow received her an Emmy Award in the Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis category for The Rachel Maddow Show segments "Good Morning Landlocked Central Asia!"
- In 2017, she received an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Live Interview category for The Rachel Maddow Show segment "One-on-One with Kellyanne Conway."
- Also in 2017, she received another Emmy Award in the Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis category for The Rachel Maddow Show story "An American Disaster: The Crisis in Flint."
Other than Emmy Awards, Rachel has been honored throughout her hosting career for outstanding work. Among Rachel's several books, her New York Times Bestseller, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, was published in 2012. It's about the role of the military in postwar America.
Rachel Maddow's Personal Life
Maddow has been transparent about dealing with cyclical depression most of her life. She said in a 2012 interview that it doesn't take away from her joy or her work or her energy.
She added that coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday life that she has lived with since she was a teenager. She says she stays sane by exercising, sleeping, fishing, and watching films on her laptop. Rachel is a bartender who loves making vintage cocktails and drinking them to unwind.
In 1999, Maddow met her partner, Susan Mikula, in Massachusetts when she began doing yard work for the artist, Rachel was working on her dissertation for her doctorate and Mikula hired her when Rachel responded to an ad.
Maddow told The New Yorker that meeting Susan was love at first sight and her proudest accomplishment. The two women split their time living together between Manhattan, New York, and West Cummington, Massachusetts.
Rachel no longer has to do yard work to help her make ends meet. She makes $7 million a year from her hosting job on MSNBC. Her net worth is $25 million.
When to Watch "The Rachel Maddow Show"
The Rachel Maddow Show airs weeknight at 9 p.m. ET and again at midnight on MSNBC.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on October 24, 2020:
Cheryl, so is Don Lemon and a lot more of the political commentators.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on October 24, 2020:
Great article. You know I took one look at her and knew she was gay. Michael says it does not matter but I enjoy reading people. That's all.