Rachel Maddow goes Hollywood for her latest magazine cover

I am about to show you a picture of Rachel Maddow. After I show you this picture of Rachel Maddow you are probably going to stop listening to me. But I understand. You’re only human and therefore not immune to the effects of a total dreamboat smartie pants covergirl. I get it. But, you know, at least please pretend you’re paying attention long enough to get through this paragraph, OK.

So The Rachel Maddow Show host was on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Hollywood and Politics” issue. In the cover story, she talks about everything from her thoughts on gay marriage to her unexpected meeting with Sarah Palin and what celebrity was able to get her to finally say “Yes.” Hey, I’m talking to you. Stop looking at the picture, it’ll still be there when you’re done reading.

In true Maddow fashion, she starts the interview with her own question: “Thank you for coming. Why are we doing this?” But even the often modest, publicity shunning host would be hard-pressed to say she hasn’t grown into a media heavy hitter these past few years. MSNBC recently extended her contract early, giving her a “nice raise” from the $2 million she was making before.

With all that money and fame, Maddow admits she has indulged in some of the finer things in life. For instance, the avid fisher recently bought a boat. Though, its perhaps a little less Jay-Z than expected, as The Hollywood Reporter reveals it’s a small row boat. “That’s my yacht lifestyle,” she joked.

She also gives the magazine the secret of copying the signature Rachel Maddow style. She has a “monochrome rainbow of the exact same $19 blazers [from H&M].” And while she’s polite about having the photoshoot team try to dress her, she admits that usually when they do “the whole androgynous thing goes away and I just end up looking like an ugly man or a 14-year-old boy.” I don’t know who ended up dressing her for the cover, but she certainly looks like neither an ugly man or 14-year-old boy. So, you know, well done whoever.

Maddow also discusses that famous snapshot of her talking with Palin at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner afterparty earlier this spring. Maddow was working as the bartender and Fox News host Greta Van Susteren brought Palin up to meet Maddow. She said the former governor even complimented her on the recent MSNBC ad that has Maddow sitting on her office floor surrounded by papers doing research.

She thought it reflected well on us that we had chosen to highlight the work ethic behind the show. And I thought that was an insightful analysis and a really nice thing to say.

Much of the article focuses on how Maddow has distinguished herself from a busy field of political commentators. Her brand of smart yet polite discourse is the exception, rather than the norm on cable news where insulting one’s opponents in inflammatory ways now passes for discussion.

But the article also touches on some gay rights issues, particularly gay marriage which Maddow has a predictably complex view about. While she has been with her partner, artist Susan Mikula for 12 years, the couple is in no rush to wed even though it has been legal in their home state of Massachusetts since 2004. Instead she says of gay marriage:

I feel that gay people not being able to get married for generations, forever, meant that we came up with alternative ways of recognizing relationships. And I worry that if everybody has access to the same institutions that we lose the creativity of subcultures having to make it on their own. And I like gay culture.

Still, Maddow admits that at least one aspect of Hollywood culture has lured her in enough to take part. While her agent has a standing order to turn down all appearance requests that are not her own TV show, she did say “Yes” when a particular star came calling.

My agent was like, “George Clooney called. I know, it’s no.” And I was like, “Oh really, George Clooney? It’s really hard to say no to him.” So there I am, I’m a Hollywood sucker. I’ll do anything for George Clooney.

Maddow makes an appearance in Clooney’s new political drama The Ides of March. Guess I’m going to have to say “Yes” to a George Clooney movie now, too.