“Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider is of the most beloved contestants to ever perform on the “Jeopardy!” stage.
Now a 13-time Champion, fans expect her win streak to continue when she comes back on Monday, December 20, now that the show’s first-ever Professor’s Tournament has drawn to a close. Schneider started her win streak in the middle of Trans Awareness Week on November 17, 2021 – which is appropriate, because Schneider is the first openly trans contestant to ever make it to the Tournament of Champions.
Now that she’s made it this far, Schneider revealed a little bit more about herself to show that she’s really a contestant to root for!
Amy Schneider Answers The Age-Old Question: ‘How Are You So Smart?’
Schneider shared her story with Defector, saying, “It’s a question I’ve been asked all my life, along with its many variations, and having a successful run on Jeopardy! has, unsurprisingly, prompted it to be asked of me more often, by friends, strangers, and Safeway cashiers.”
This is a question that she is continually seeking an answer to.
“One is to attribute my intelligence to factors outside of my control,” she explained. “With this approach, I’ll generally observe that I was born with a brain that, for whatever reason, retains knowledge well.”
She added, “I don’t have a ‘photographic’ memory or anything like that; God knows I’ve spent enough time hunting my apartment for my phone to disprove that idea. But while many people, upon learning that, for example, ‘oviparous’ is an adjective meaning ‘egg-laying,’ will quite sensibly forget it almost immediately, I will probably remember it, and without any particular effort.”
Amy Schneider Credits Her ‘Privilege’ For Successful ‘Jeopardy!’ Run
“Another factor, of course, is my privilege,” Schneider continued. “Unlike most people in history, I wasn’t born into grinding poverty, and my parents believed in the value of knowledge as its own reward. Moreover, I am white, and until well into adulthood, was perceived as male. Had that not been the case, my intelligence would have been seen as surprising at best, and threatening at worst, which undoubtedly would have impacted my intellectual development. But it was the case, and I was never discouraged from acquiring knowledge.”
She also admits that she has a tendency to dispute the idea that she’s “so smart” at all.
“After all, being able to do things like name all the monarchs from the House of Stuart is a pretty narrow definition of ‘smart,’ don’t you think?” she joked. “There are many types of intelligence, and the one I have is far from the most useful.”
“Being on Jeopardy! has given me a whole new set of avenues for this approach, because being good at Jeopardy! is more than just being knowledgeable; like sports, it is an attempt to measure a natural talent via an unnatural competition. So you don’t just need to ‘know stuff,’ you need to know the right stuff,” she added, noting that buzzer timing has been a “vital part of my success.”
She also explained how recalling the meaning of root words is another avenue to her success, not only on the show, but in daily life.
However she does it, fans can’t wait to see Amy Schneider return to “Jeopardy!” on Monday, December 20, with Ken Jennings stepping back in to host!