Mattea Roach, the 23-year-old “Jeopardy!” champion, blew previous competitor after competitor. Some of the video games had been nail-biters: In one, she defeated her opponent by only a greenback. But the LSAT tutor, a 2020 graduate of the University of Toronto, ended her streak on Friday, successful 23 straight video games and incomes $560,983 (plus a $2000 comfort prize for her loss). She is among the many present’s winningest regular-season gamers — simply behind the likes of Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, Matt Amodio and Amy Schneider.
Like Mr. Jennings, Ms. Schneider and Arthur Chu earlier than her, Ms. Roach achieved crossover fame throughout her tenure on the present.
She drew consideration from “Jeopardy!” followers partially for her distinctive taking part in model: She tended to wager small on Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy, for example.
But her method is attention-grabbing, too. Ms. Roach gesticulates (and never simply together with her palms — her wrists additionally get in on the motion, and have grew to become the topic of social media consideration).
All “Jeopardy!” contestants reply within the type of questions, in fact, however Ms. Roach landed her response with an additional layer of upspeak. As she puzzled by her solutions, she talked out loud to herself — or was it directed to the host, or the viewers at dwelling? Her play might be disarmingly informal. On the Final Jeopardy clue that ended her streak, she appended a lowercase “idk” (textual content slang for “I don’t know”) to her scribbled, incorrect reply.
Ms. Roach was essentially the most high-profile Gen Zer to seem on the present, and her style sense mirrored her era. She appeared in what is likely to be referred to as Merkel-core (as within the former chancellor of Germany): Her signature look was daring, boxy blazers.
Ms. Roach says her fame was a shock.
“I don’t know that there’s kind of a way to psychologically prepare for this sort of thing,” she mentioned in an interview on Friday when her streak ended. But nonetheless, she gave some thought to what she wore.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Are you getting lots of recognition within the streets?
I had not been dwelling the whole time that the video games had been airing, so I hadn’t watched any of them with my mother and father in Nova Scotia. We drove as much as Cape Breton to see my grandparents yesterday and got here again all the way down to Halifax at the moment. My mother and I finished at this restaurant on the aspect of the street. I used to be carrying a KN95 masks and one of many ladies working the restaurant was like, “I recognize you by your earrings.” I swear it was like, 10 ladies got here out from the kitchen, like clowns popping out of a clown automobile. They simply stored popping out to say hey.
How would you describe your private model?
How can I describe it that may be printed in The Times … I’ll simply say it this fashion: I gown like a lesbian. I noticed lots of tweets after my first look the place I hadn’t actually, like, spoken publicly about my orientation or identification from individuals who had been queer, that had been like: We can inform.
I positively gown extra masculine; I put on both completely impartial tones, or, if I’m going to put on one thing brilliant, it’s going to be actually gaudy and actually loud. Even once I’m going to an occasion, I wish to be comfortable.
If you see me in the course of the summer season, I’m a kind of folks that’s raiding Old Navy for all the horrible print shirts that I can discover or going to thrift shops on the lookout for all the massive Hawaiian dad shirts.
When you had been serious about your look on the present, what went by your thoughts?
I began rabbit-holing just a little bit earlier than the present. I noticed that there’s a Twitter account that talks about what folks put on on the present.
I used to be like, OK, I wish to guarantee that I’m carrying one thing that I really feel like I look good in. I used to be way more involved about feeling snug with what I used to be carrying.
I purchased exactly one merchandise new — a tweed blazer. Everything else was stuff I already owned. With the exception of 1 time: I wore this black cardigan that got here from wardrobe, as a result of I believe that they had been like, we have to placed on one other layer simply in order that there’s like one thing else occurring. And I used to be clearly not thrilled to need to put on the cardigan from wardrobe, but it surely was nice.
I wore the identical pair of pants virtually each single recreation since you don’t see them — this pair of black stretchy Palazzo pants from Zara. The solely time that I put on a special pair of pants was two episodes the place I’m carrying a jumpsuit.
Do you do lots of secondhand purchasing?
Most of the blazers I wore on the present had been from classic or secondhand shops in Toronto — aside from a crushed velvet one, which was given to me by a buddy who was cleansing her closet.
It’s simpler to seek out high-quality items at an inexpensive value level that method. I just like the notion that it’s extra sustainable.
I’m not a giant Value Village- or Goodwill-type shopper simply because I don’t get pleasure from purchasing that a lot. I discover the method of getting to sift by lots of clothes to be simply not satisfying. So the locations that I am going are usually locations which have already curated a range.
Are you a Depop lady?
No, I’m not. I’ve tried to go searching on there. They don’t have an excellent number of sizes. Oftentimes, I discover that it’s lots of people that can possibly purchase oversize issues after which they’ll make a two-piece out of what was beforehand one shirt and I’m like, properly, I can’t put on that.
Obviously, your monetary scenario has modified because of being on the present. Do you suppose that your model will change in any respect together with that?
I don’t know that my model will change. I do suppose that I’ll most likely really feel a bit extra free to purchase items which might be costlier. I don’t even take Ubers, although I can completely afford to, as a result of I simply hate spending cash. So I don’t suppose I’m going to all of a sudden exit and fully revamp my wardrobe.
I most likely will use the chance to purchase a minimum of one swimsuit and have it tailor-made as a result of that’s one thing that I believe is, particularly as a girl, fairly tough to do and might be sort of costly. I’ve by no means been capable of finding a two-piece matching swimsuit the place each components match me.
Are you protecting the blazers? Or have you ever burned them already?
No, I really like my blazers, why would I eliminate them?
I noticed you tweeted, “My identity isn’t relevant to how well I performed on the show. But it is relevant in that I am someone who is read as queer in real life because of the way I dress, talk with my body and other intangible factors.” How did you see that play out?
I wish to guarantee that if I’m solely going to do that one time, I’m doing it in a method that I really feel pleased with.
I wasn’t making an attempt to actually average in a serious method how I used to be speaking. I knew that I didn’t wish to gown extra female than I’d in any other case simply to look extra presentable to some hypothetical individual in center America that may not like how I gown. I’m glad I confirmed up as my genuine self as a result of it will have been lots of steam for me to maintain up a sure picture that was not true to who I’m over that many video games.
I wasn’t serious about it by way of, “Oh, it’s going to be so important for people to see a young queer person on the show.” To the extent that I assumed that mattered, it largely mattered to me.