After five victories, the engineering manager from Oakland, California, became the first openly transgender participant to qualify for the next round of top winners last week. She’s now increased her winning streak and is speaking out about the importance of on-screen representation.
“I am so tremendously appreciative,” she said in an interview with KGO-TV in San Francisco on Tuesday. “I’m hoping to give a good message to the nerdy trans girl who also wants to be on the program.”
Schneider now has a total of $380,200 in earnings from the show’s regular season, putting her in eighth place all-time.
“I’m not going to pretend I didn’t believe I could perform well,” she remarked, “but this is so much better than I expected.”
Schneider said she’d want to surpass James Holzhauer, who won 32 games in a row in 2019, took home a total of $2,962,216 in prize money, and owns the show record for single-game victories with $131,127.
Growing up in Ohio with parents who loved “Jeopardy!” and a mother who was a college professor, Schneider was imbued with a passion of study and the quiz program from an early age.
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Schneider was also influenced by Natasha Muse, a trans comic she met after coming to San Francisco.
“Growing up in the Midwest in a conservative family, I had kind of a distorted idea of what it meant to be trans, and so seeing her being smart, funny, cool, and just a normal person with a normal life and kids and everything like that just showed me that it was something that I could possibly be, and that really made a difference for me,” she said.
Schneider is not the first openly transgender person to appear on the popular game show. She previously said that a “handful” of others came before her, including Kate Freeman, who became the first out trans champion last year.
“Many thanks to them all for pioneering the way!” Schneider sent a tweet last week.