“Who is Amy Schneider?” That would, of course, be the correct answer to the Jeopardy question of “This 42-year-old software engineering manager became the first woman and the first transgender contestant to win over $1 million on Jeopardy.”
Amy Schneider has been winning Jeopardy games since before Thanksgiving 2021, and shows no signs of stopping her incredible winning streak yet. She’s won 28 consecutive games so far, which gives her the fourth highest number of wins in Jeopardy history. So, we have a lot of proof about how smart she is. But these past few months have given fans a chance to fall in love with the person behind all those incredible trivia answers.
Despite this, most fans don’t know the real Amy. And that’s why we threw together this awesome guide to everything you need to know about Amy Schneider!
She was voted ‘Most Likely To Be On Jeopardy One Day’ as a child
Being on Jeopardy has been a dream of Amy’s since she was a child growing up in Dayton, Ohio. She can remember watching Jeopardy with her parents as early as kindergarten. “I’ve always watched it and I’ve also always been interested in learning facts and stuff,” she told Yahoo Entertainment.
“And as I mentioned on the show, in eighth grade I was voted Most Likely to Be on Jeopardy! One Day. It was always sort of in my mind that it might be something I did at some point.”
She has become a trans icon
As the first transgender person to qualify for the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, Amy seems pleased that she has become a trans icon. But she told Yahoo that this wasn’t her intention.
“I was definitely aware, going on the show, that being a trans person in the spotlight could be an interesting thing. But, you know, it’s just what I am, and there’s sort of, like, nothing to do about it. It’s just who I am.”
Still, Amy understands the importance of representing trans people on a national platform. “Anything that can be done to show trans people as just normal people I think is a great thing,” she said. “We want to get to a point where trans people are less pioneering and like, you know, that the first trans person to do whatever is just kind of like, whatever! Why wouldn’t a trans person do that? Like, they could do anything that anyone else can do, and there’s nothing unusual about it.”
She credits her amazing ‘Jeopardy’ performance to a trick she learned from her mother
Obviously, Schneider’s time in Dayton was very formative. After completing high school, she went on to enroll at the University of Dayton and majored in science, graduating in 2002.
While the lessons from her professors were certainly important, they are not necessarily the source of all her Jeopardy knowledge. She instead credits this to a different professor entirely: her mother!
According to the Washington Post, Schneider’s parents (particularly her mother, who is a college professor) taught her the importance of learning the stories behind different facts. This helped those facts stick in her head better than, say, the random list of facts someone might memorize while studying at the last minute for a test.
She has a ‘Wizard of Oz’ tattoo with a special meaning
The more a contestant is on Jeopardy, the more we learn about them. For example, Schneider has a Wizard of Oz-themed tattoo that she is required to cover up during broadcasts. But in a recent episode, she dished on the tattoo and its special meaning. Schneider mentioned that she connected with The Wizard of Oz while transitioning, which inspired her to get the tattoo.
On Twitter, she got into more detail. “My tattoo is indeed of Ozma of Oz. For those who don’t know, L. Frank Baum wrote many sequels to The Wizard of Oz, and in all of them the ruler of Oz was Princess Ozma. She had been the rightful heir, but was kidnapped as a baby by a sorceress, who enchanted her to become a boy,” Schneider explained.
“Eventually, the enchantment is lifted, and she is revealed to be the beautiful princess she always was. So it seemed like the perfect image to commemorate my transition!”
She has faced struggles such as robbery and illness since becoming a ‘Jeopardy’ champion
With her hot winning streak, you might think everything is going perfectly for Amy Schneider. But she still faces real difficulties from time to time, including a scary recent experience where she was robbed!
As People reports, Amy was robbed at gunpoint in Oakland over New Year’s weekend. Amy revealed the robbery on Twitter on Jan. 3. While quick to clarify that she was “fine,” Schneider tweeted, “I got robbed yesterday, lost my ID, credit cards, and phone. I then couldn’t really sleep last night, and have been dragging myself around all day trying to replace everything.”
The robbery would have been bad enough on its own, but shortly after, Schneider got sick. “Quick update: So, to make this week even more fun, I also got sick,” she explained on Twitter on Jan. 5. “I’m feeling mostly better now, but I’m going to extend my posting break through tomorrow.”
She keeps setting Jeopardy records
Still, despite the robbery and her illness, these incidents have not affected Amy’s stunning performance on Jeopardy. This may be because Jeopardy episodes are filmed up to three months in advance.
As of Jan. 7, 2022, Schneider has won 28 Jeopardy games in a row. Overall, she has won over a million dollars from the show. As NPR reports, she is only the fourth contestant to ever do so, and she is the first openly trans person to accomplish this.
And Schneider is very aware of what this means for her life. In a press release, she said, “It feels amazing, it feels strange. It’s not a sum of money I ever anticipated would be associated with my name.”
She has been dominating Jeopardy since a last-minute victory by Final Jeopardy on the Nov. 17, 2021 game. Now, fans are wondering if she might meet or even beat the record set by Ken Jennings, who managed to win 74 games in a row.
Regardless of her future game performance, Schneider has become an icon for women, trans individuals, and game show enthusiasts around the world. And we can’t wait to see what she does next.