The Untold Truth Of Jeopardy's Amy Schneider

"Jeopardy!" first premiered on March 30, 1964. It re-popularized trivia-themed game shows and captured audiences throughout the world. As fans of the trivia show know, "Jeopardy!" is unique in that contestants provide answers in the form of questions. Perhaps this quirk is part of why the program has so many loyal viewers.

Over the years, "Jeopardy!" contestants have garnered their own fans. Sometimes it's their personality or unexpected day job that draws viewers in. Other times it's their impressive winning streaks. Record-breaking "Jeopardy!" champion Amy Schneider is one of the show's most notable victors. The former contestant is making headlines for all the right reasons — she became the highest-winning woman during her time on the show. She is also the show's first transgender contestant to earn a spot in the tournament of champions. The victor's rise to fame during her time on "Jeopardy!" has raised many questions regarding her personal life and plans after leaving the show. Luckily for her supportive fans, Schneider has opened up about some unexpected details of her life in interviews and on her social media accounts.

 This is the untold truth of Amy Schneider.

Amy Schneider was destined for Jeopardy!

In watching Amy Schneider fly through questions and remain calm and cool under pressure on "Jeopardy!," it almost seems as though she was destined to be on the show. It turns out that in a way, she was — the champion had dreams of competing on "Jeopardy!" since she was a child. "I can't ever remember not watching 'Jeopardy!' Schneider told NPR. "It was one of the things that was just on every night, and I would watch with my parents." The 42-year-old earned a reputation as a "Jeopardy!" buff before she was even old enough to apply for the show. According to NPR, Schneider's 8th-grade classmates voted her "most likely to compete on 'Jeopardy!,'" so it seems she was impressing people with her knowledge long before she experienced game show success.

The record-breaking winner also attributes much of her success to her parents' support. She opened up about her childhood in a piece she wrote for Defector. "My parents believed in the value of knowledge as its own reward," the game show star shared in part. Many might not have expected Schneider, an engineering manager with no prior TV experience, to embark on this journey, but it seems her friends and family knew she was bound to become a memorable "Jeopardy!" contestant.

She cracked the code to win

Like most "Jeopardy!" contestants, Amy Schneider spent hours preparing for the show. She developed a strategy to help her win big. In an interview with GLAAD, The winner explained she used a website with a database of "Jeopardy!" questions and answers to study. She mentioned that watching the show also helped. Schneider's swiftness with the buzzer may be explained by her practice methods as well. She shared she held a pen meant to mimic the "Jeopardy!" buzzer. This way, she was able to practice ringing in as fast as possible. 

Although the "Jeopardy!" victor went through rounds of preparation, it seems that there were still a few surprises waiting for her when she actually played the game on set. "You don't really know until you're there," Schneider told Katie Couric in an interview. She continued, "Actually, in my first game, the strategy I had gone in with of sort of focusing on it and kind of anticipating the last syllable ... it just felt like it wasn't working for the first half of the game or so." The champion explained how she used her quick smarts to draft a new game plan. "And for whatever reason, I just sort of decided to kind of stop thinking about it and just kind of go by feel and instinct," she told Couric. She said this new method "worked great." Schneider may have cracked the code to winning "Jeopardy!."

Amy Schneider didn't want her identity to overshadow her wins

Amy Schneider has inspired transgender women who hope to one day become "Jeopardy!" contestants, and she's been vocal about the positive impact she has had on her community. The former engineering manager told People, "To be giving something back without trying, with just doing something I was planning to do anyway, is really great." Although Schneider has broken barriers, she has said that she wants to be known for more than her identity. The trivia connoisseur took to Twitter to share, "I didn't want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show. I am a trans woman, and I'm proud of that fact, but I'm a lot of other things, too!"

Still, she seems to be touched by the support she has received from other transgender "Jeopardy!" fans and their families. Schneider revealed that parents and grandparents have sent her heartwarming messages about their transgender family members. "I think a lot of the most meaningful, to me, have been actually from parents and grandparents of trans people, saying that it's made them feel better about the life that their loved ones are going to have," she said, per People. "That makes me really happy."

The Jeopardy! winner broke many records

Amy Schneider has broken so many "Jeopardy!" records that the show's website features a lengthy list of her accomplishments. By January 24, 2022, she had reached 39 consecutive wins. This placed her above the previous record holder, Matt Amodio. As of this writing, the site has not updated this list to show her 40 consecutive wins, which makes her the longest-winning female contestant in the show's history, per NPR.

Schneider's record-breaking "Jeopardy!" run came to an end when she struggled to respond to the clue: "The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it's also one of the 10 most populous," according to NPR. Contestant Rhone Talsma was able to correctly respond with "What is Bangladesh?" and end Schneider's winning streak. Nonetheless, the Oakland-based contestant seems to be grateful for the experience. "It's really been an honor," Schneider told NPR. "To know that I'm one of the most successful people at a game I've loved since I was a kid and to know that I'm a part of its history now, I just don't know how to process it." Although the contestant's winning streak came to a halt, she did earn the opportunity for another victory at the show's Tournament of Champions in the fall of 2022, per The Hollywood Reporter.

She said the 'central gimmick' of Jeopardy! is important

"Jeopardy!" sets itself apart from other game shows with its "central gimmick." As viewers of the show know, contestants answer trivia in the form of a question. According to the "Jeopardy!" website, the program's signature schtick was developed in the 1960s by producer Merv Griffin and his wife. They aimed to add a twist to the show to set it apart from the many other trivia programs on-air at the time. 

While it may seem that this is just a quirk to make the show more engaging, Amy Schneider shared that the "central gimmick" challenges contestants in a way the show's audience might not expect. "I've come to see that this gimmick, perhaps inadvertently, teaches an underrated skill, which is simply understanding what you're being asked," she wrote in her piece for Defector. She explained how this creates an added obstacle. "The gimmick of the show forces a weird kind of syntax on the clues, so that, oftentimes, you have to untangle the question before you can even begin to find the answer," the former contestant added.

Amy Schneider said she grew up privileged

It takes a sharp mind to break so many records in a game that tests a person's memory. So, how did Amy Schneider become smart enough to earn the second-longest winning streak in "Jeopardy!" history? In her Defector piece, she addressed the curiosity surrounding her intelligence and explained how her upbringing contributed to her success. "Another factor, of course, is my privilege. 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," she wrote.

The trivia show star also mentioned how her race and the way others viewed her aided her journey. "Moreover, I am white, and until well into adulthood, was perceived as male," she continued. "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."

Schneider also recognizes how she has benefitted from having a solid support system. "I would like to thank my mom," she said in a clip posted to the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account. "You know, I was thinking about what it is that contributed to me being here and my success here. And I was thinking about when she was helping me study for the spelling bee." She then recounted how her mother went above and beyond to help her study not only the words but also the meaning behind them. It seems Schneider has carried that imparted knowledge with her throughout her life.

She had to quit her job to make time for the show

Most fans of Amy Schneider know that she was introduced on the show as an engineering manager. Given her "Jeopardy!" success has resulted in quite a bit of fame, it seems it would be difficult for her to maintain that job. After all, Schneider is now a star — she's done numerous interviews and talk show appearances that likely take up the majority of her time. How does Schneider balance her job as an engineering manager with her hectic schedule? Well, she doesn't.

In an interview with The Ringer, the former contestant revealed that she stepped away from her management role early in the filming of her episodes. "I actually after a bit stopped being a manager just because [Jeopardy!] was taking up so much of my time that I couldn't give my team the attention they needed," she admitted. Schneider's boss didn't understand why she had to leave town each week. "It's funny because my boss and the vice president, who are the two people who really knew that I was missing so much time — neither of them really watches 'Jeopardy!' and had no real conception of what it meant that I had to keep going down," she said. The New York Times reported that Schneider had to go to extreme lengths to remain at her company. She accepted a demotion and exhausted all of her paid time off. As of this writing, the "Jeopardy!" victor hasn't announced she's departed from her company entirely.

The trivia whiz wants to pursue entertainment

Now that Amy Schneider has earned her own fanbase, many are wondering what her next move is. There are many opportunities that come along with TV fame and it seems Schneider is exploring the possibilities that have opened up for her. When asked about possibly pursuing an entertainment career after leaving "Jeopardy!," the former contestant said she's "dreaming of it." She told AP News: "I don't know exactly in what direction I would want to take that, and I don't know what opportunities will be available coming out of this [the show]. But I've been working on my writing as a field I might find some opportunities in." Schneider dabbled in entertainment prior to her stint on "Jeopardy!" by co-hosting a podcast.

In January 2022, The Hollywood Reporter possibly confirmed that the trivia show star's dreams were coming true: She had signed with talent agency CAA. We'll have to wait and see exactly what endeavors Schneider pursues, but we do have a few possible hints. She told the Los Angeles Times she would be interested in appearing on "Jeopardy!" again — this time as a host. "It would certainly be a cool experience," Schneider said. "It's a lot harder than it looks. Whether I'd actually even be good at it, I don't know ... But yeah, I'd certainly consider it if somebody asked." While a hosting gig has not been announced for the former contestant, it would be interesting to see how she performs in a different role.

The winner is passionate about representation

Amy Schneider made it clear that she doesn't want her identity as a transgender woman to overshadow her victory, but that doesn't mean she isn't proud of who she is. The "Jeopardy!" history maker spoke to "Good Morning America" about representing the transgender community. "I think that the best part for me has been being on TV as my true self, expressing myself and representing the entire community of trans people," she said (via NBC News). She continued, "And just kind of showing a different thing than maybe some people have seen, of just being a smart, confident woman and just doing something super normal like being on 'Jeopardy!.'"

In an interview with Katie Couric, Schneider opened up about receiving messages from transgender fans who were impacted by her success. She explained she understands the importance of representation for those supporters. She said her impact on the transgender community and how people view their transgender family members was something she was "very conscious of." She shared, "I really needed to be putting my best foot forward the whole time because I was representing a lot of people." As Schneider progresses into a career in entertainment, she is sure to continue to break barriers and increase transgender representation in the industry.

Amy Schneider is in love with Genevieve Davis

Amy Schneider has not been shy about her love for her girlfriend, Genevieve Davis. According to the former "Jeopardy!" contestant's Twitter, the two met "in the summer of 2020," when Schneider's friend invited her boyfriend's sister over to her apartment. "That sister turned out to be Genevieve," Schneider wrote in part. She described their first meet-up as something like "love at first sight." The game show victor also shared that she began dating Davis after divorcing her ex-wife, with whom she is still on good terms.

Although Schneider has been married in the past, it seems she and Davis may be a better fit — the two love birds can't stop fawning over each other. Schneider told USA Today that the shiny pearl necklace she wears on the show was a gift from Davis, who told her "Every lady should have a string of pearls." The necklace kept the couple close while Schneider was off filming "Jeopardy!." The former contestant said, "It was the first significant time I'd spent apart from her since we'd started dating. And so having that was just a nice, just sort of comforting reminder that, that she was at home waiting for me."

So, who is this Genevieve Davis that has Amy Schneider smitten? She seems to be a relatively private person, but she does have a public Facebook account where she shared she is "in a relationship" with Schneider. According to The New York Times, the 25-year-old Oakland, California native works as a nanny.

Her bold tattoo was covered up for the show

Many "Jeopardy!" viewers might not know that Amy Schneider has a bold tattoo on her arm. That's because it was intentionally covered up due to copyright reasons. The trivia champion first unveiled her arm tattoo on Twitter. Her approach was subtle (she simply posted a photo holding a laptop with the tatted arm facing the camera) but followers quickly flooded her replies with questions about the ink.

She shared that she drew inspiration from her transition. "My tattoo is indeed of Ozma of Oz," she wrote. "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 explained that the character was kidnapped as a baby by a sorceress who "enchanted her to become a boy." Later she is "revealed to be the beautiful princess she always was" after the spell is lifted.

In an interview with Newsweek, the Ozma of Oz fan explained why covering the tattoo was a hassle. "And I also generally don't wear long sleeves, but I had a tattoo that had to be covered up because if it wasn't they'd have to get clearance from the artist and that's sort of a copyright issue," she told the outlet. "So I had to wear long sleeves every day, which was unusual for me. So I was a bit worried about it."

The Jeopardy! star was robbed

Amy Schneider was robbed in the midst of her "Jeopardy!" fame. She sustained no physical injuries following the incident, but the experience was likely terrifying nonetheless. On January 3, 2022, she told her Twitter followers that she was "fine" but lost her phone and credit cards during the attack. The robber even snagged her ID. Schneider shared she had to go get all of these items replaced.

This must have been incredibly frustrating, given her already busy schedule, and Schneider later told The New York Times that it was "slightly unsettling" when she realized that people who know her were learning about the robbery via the media. According to AP News, "Jeopardy!" lent its support to the record-breaking contestant following the incident. The show shared, "We were deeply saddened to hear about this incident, and we reached out to Amy privately to offer our help in any capacity." As fans now know, this traumatic setback did not prevent Schneider from earning $1.4 million dollars during her 40-game winning streak. In an interview with "Extra," she shared her plans to spend her winnings on some well-deserved splurges, including a vacation in Ireland and a "shopping spree" for designer clothing.