Current Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider is on a three-game winning streak and looking to make it four in a row later tonight. While Schneider has made it look easy with some dominant performances so far, she struggled to even get on the show for years.
Schneider, an engineering manager who lives in Oakland, California, took over as champion on Wednesday. She defeated five-time champ Andrew He, and has been on a roll ever since. Following her third victory on Friday night, Schneider has already won more than $110,000 on the popular game show.
Recently, the contestant spoke with Newsweek about her experience competing on Jeopardy!. She’s been a fan for years, but her attempts to apply to be on the show haven’t panned out until now. In fact, Schneider first applied to be a contestant over a decade ago.
“I’m not sure quite how long [ago I first applied], but I remember trying out when I still lived in Ohio. And I’ve lived in Oakland since 2009. So it has to have been at least that amount of time,” Schneider told Newsweek.
Eventually, her persistence paid off though. Schneider made it on the game show and took full advantage of the opportunity. Yet she also understands that there were “a few things” that contributed to her unsuccessful attempts at becoming a contestant.
“One is that when you take the first online test, no matter how good you do it’s a random chance whether they look at you to go any further. So that’s part of it,” Schneider admitted. But the current champ went on to share further specific reasons why she may not have been chosen in previous years.
‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Amy Schneider’s Persistence Eventually Paid Off
Amy Schneider took over as Jeopardy!‘s champion last week, but it came with added significance. Her appearance on the game show fell in the middle of Trans Awareness Week. As a woman who identifies as trans, it made her win that much more special. She called her string of victories “really cool,” and went on to share further reasons why she may not have gotten a call earlier.
“The reality is that for the first few years of that, when I was trying out, I was, as far as any of us knew, a standard white guy. And there’s just more competition for those slots on Jeopardy!,” Schneider shared.
The three-time champion understands that showrunners want to bring in a diverse set of contestants to compete on the game show. So she understood why it possibly took longer for her to finally make an appearance. Even if she didn’t get on the show recently, Schneider says she never would’ve stopped trying.
“They’re making a TV show, they don’t want everybody to look the same,” Schneider added. “And I looked a lot like many of the other contestants, and I think that definitely made it a little tougher for me at that time. I would have got on eventually—I was never gonna stop trying!”
After 12 years or more of trying to make it on Jeopardy! as a contestant, Schneider is not only competing on the show, but can add her name to the list of champions. Further, if she wins tonight and tomorrow, Schneider will automatically qualify for the “Tournament of Champions.” Her persistence has definitely paid off.