Rachel Maddow comes “Out” on top

Rachel Maddow is the hottest lesbian in America. No, that’s not my crush talking. That’s the Out 100 talking. Out magazine featured the 35-year-old political commentator and TV and radio host first in the sneak peek of its annual list of gay men and women movers and shakers.

Rachel was singled out as “one of the year’s biggest breakouts.” Thanks to her daily shows on MSNBC and Air America, the former Rhodes Scholar has burst onto the national scene this year with her astute and amusing take on the presidential election. Since its launch in September, The Rachel Maddow Show has doubled the viewership from her predecessor, Dan Abrams, regularly bests timeslot competition Larry King Live and has even outdone her mentor and lead-in, Keith Olbermann, on occasion.

What makes her triumph all the more astounding? The fact that she has been out since she was “old enough to drive” and — well — let’s let Rachel explain the rest:

I’m a big lesbian who looks like a man. I am not, like, Anchor Babe, and I’m never gonna be.

Airhead anchor babe? No. Smart lesbian catnip? You betcha.

On Monday, the magazine started an exclusive preview of its 100 picks for 2008. Of the nearly two dozen honorees revealed so far, besides Rachel less than a handful are out lesbian and bisexual women. They are Australian musician Missy Higgins, Exes & Ohs actress Heather Matarazzo and KCRW radio host Diana Nyad.

For the photo shoot, the magazine looked to the golden age of Hollywood for inspiration. Rachel’s fitted shirt and dress slacks portrait was inspired by another great wearer of pants, Katharine Hepburn. The shot is also, interestingly, one of the more feminine portraits of Rachel we’ve seen so far. It’s certainly a far cry from the outfit she picked to wear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last month.

Speaking of talk show appearances, did anyone else catch Rachel, the political commentator by day, hobbyist bartender by night, on The Martha Stewart Show Tuesday? She taught Martha how to make a Joe Rickey highball. How much you want to bet that Rachel, and maybe even Martha, cheered the night’s election results with a few of those bad boys?

More Out 100 nominees will be posted each day until the award show Nov. 14. Any ideas who should else be on the list?

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