Rachel Maddow has been forced to glam up, says Louise France in the London Observer. With her 6-foot frame and boyish appearance, the MSNBC host has long joked that she has a face made for radio, where she started her career. “I am an unusual-looking person,” Maddow says. “I’m not a TV anchor babe. I’m a big lesbian who looks like a man.”

But now that Maddow is, in fact, the anchor of her own program, she has had to make adjustments, reluctantly agreeing to wear makeup and what she calls “lady clothes.” As it turns out, many viewers—men and women alike—now consider her a sex symbol, judging by her fan mail and all the Internet chatter. “People are kind and flattering,” she says, “but it is a remarkable and weird part of my life that I try not to dwell on.”

She does admit that she has become more aware of her appearance, even if the issue still grates on her. “I get exasperated. My goal is to do the physical appearance stuff in such a way that it is not comment-worthy. I don’t think very much about my appearance and when I do, it’s not, how would you say ... strategic.” She laughs. “But it’s a visual medium and it really does matter what you look like.”