Happy 40th Birthday Rachel Maddow: A Fangirl's Retrospective

Regular SheWired readers will be unsurprised to know that I'm a die-hard fan of out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. It just so happens that today is Maddow's 40th birthday
By: Sunnivie Brydum
April 01 2013 7:07 PM

Regular SheWired readers will be unsurprised to know that I'm a die-hard fan of out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. And what luck — it just so happens that today is Maddow's 40th birthday! Which means we have a really great excuse to gather up our favorite photos and on-camera Maddow moments.

So without further ado, let's dive right in to SheWired's Maddow Files. Or is that more accurately, Maddow-phile?

We'll kick things off with some seriously vintage Maddow, in the form of her high school senior portrait. We almost don't recognize her, what with the long blonde locks and pearls-for-clutching. You can see the burgeoning progressive in those firey eyes, though, and we've gotta give the girl credit: judging by this photo, she barely seems to have aged two years, let alone two decades. 

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Check out this 1998 photo from photographer Del LaGrace Volcano's retrospective, titled "Rachel Maddow At Home in My Studio," from an exhibition at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Maddow's combat boots, not-yet-ironically-hipster trout T-shirt, close-cropped hair, and pensive expression are pretty much the epitome of everything that was good about the 1990s.

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Regular viewers are sure to recognize Maddow's Cocktail Moment, but Maddow really mixed it up when she showed Andy Cohen and Jenni Pulos how to make a classic Negroni into a shot on an episode of Watch What Happens Live last year. Of course, I'd drink just about anything Maddow handed me. 

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Demonstrating her mainstream charm — without losing any of that wonky policy knowledge that keeps her after my own heart, Maddow was The Hollywood Reporter's cover girl in October of 2011. Maddow earned accolades — and public admiration — for keeping her critiques of politicians strictly above the belt, never devolving into ad hominem attacks. If only we could say the same for Maddow's detractors, who like to call her "Rachel MadCow," and comment on how manly she looks

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Maddow gave the commencement speech at the historically gay-lady-laden Smith College in 2010. If only you could hear the queer lady-hearts beating out of a whole class of graduates' chests... Still, the speech is pretty fantastic, and as always, inspiring, with a touch of humor. Swoon. 

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In case this post didn't include enough lesbian love, we thought we'd wrap it up with some meta-lesbians-on-TV-time. In this clip from October of last year, Maddow stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show and talks election, the debates, and confesses her guilty pleasure. 

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