Amy Schneider is back behind the Danger! stage.
When her record-breaking 40 straight wins on the game show ended in January, Schneider had won an astonishing $1,382,800 and became the second longest-running player in the show’s history. She returned to Alex Trebek Stage on Tuesday for a fun practice match (which she lost), but on Wednesday’s episode, she’s back for some serious competition: the first semi-final match in this season’s Tournament of Champions.
Schneider, who is also the winningest female champion in the show’s history and the first transgender contestant to qualify for the highly anticipated event, told the Daily Beast in an interview published Tuesday about how she prepared. After all, she faces competitors who have won at least four matches since the tournament was held in 2020 or who won tournaments for professors, students or people who won after getting a second chance behind the buzzer.
“When I was watching at home, I wrote down the Final Jeopardy answer instead of yelling it at the TV as usual, just to get myself thinking that way,” Schneider said. “It was all about visualizing that situation, visualizing the clue that came up, not knowing the answer right away, just keeping calm and trusting that it will come to me by the end of time.”
She explained that she was intimidated to meet all her competitors, but two stood out.
“The two at the top of the list were definitely Matt Amodio and Andrew He, because… [Andrew is] who I played against in my first game, and he absolutely could have won and he should have,” said Schneider. “He would say the same thing. He’s someone I know from experience who can beat me. I feel my heart rate go up a little bit, against him.”
Schneider was also asked if she’d said in the past that she prefers Ken Jennings – who won the show’s Greatest of All Time tournament in 2020 – at the helm. While Jennings organizes this tournament, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik serves as his regular Danger! co-host.
“It’s not that I think she’s bad,” Schneider said of Bialik. “She’s definitely a lovely host and I know people prefer her. I can see why. The point to me is that Ken has that in-depth knowledge of Danger! He has a fondness for it. He has an intuitive sense of the flow of the game and can comment on it. The task of Danger! host is part host, part part commentator about how things are going, and I think he manages that balance very well. It’s not so much that Mayim isn’t good, but I think Ken is extra good.”
On a personal note, Schneider, who married Genevieve Davis in May, said her life has definitely changed since the… Danger! public met her in November 2021.
“If I’m outside my apartment, there’s a chance I’ll be recognized,” she said. “I have to be ready for that no matter what’s going on with me. The line I always see is, ‘Oh, you must be tired of that!’ “Yes, I’m tired of strangers coming up to me and telling me I’m great. Whatever. What a hard life, you know? On a day-to-day level, that’s the most noticeable thing.”
And that’s not even the best part.
“The important thing is just having the freedom to do what I want to do, having that financial buffer to quit my day job and see what else I can achieve in the world,” said the former managing engineer. “It’s not something I expected to happen in my life. It was really exciting to go out and not worry about making rent ever.”