Everyone loves a good Mean Girls reference, duh.

Students who do cool things: Leonard Cooper ’17, Teen Jeopardy champion

Brown students are intelligent. Jeopardy contestants are often super-intelligent. Some really awesome people have Facebook pages dedicated to them. Leonard Cooper ’17 is bright enough, bold enough, and has an afro large enough to fit into all of these categories, making him one of the sharpest tools Brown has in its shed. Leo is the epitome of “one who does cool things”—he won Teen Jeopardy last year. And he didn’t only win, but he won $75,000—way above the average yearly income for a post-grad with a liberal arts degree. Way to go, Leo! We sat down with Leo to chat about his wild ride from a small town in Arkansas to a big studio in LA where all of his wildest dreams came true.

BlogDailyHerald: Why did you go on the show?
Leonard Cooper ’17: I was watching the show in February last year and they put on a commercial for auditions and I decided I wanted to be on the show. I’d been watching the show for a while and saw the commercial.

BlogDH: Did you study for the show?
Leo: [Really casually… like too casually.] No.

BlogDH: Do you get recognized now, like when you walk on the street and stuff?
Leo: Back home, a lot. People would ask for a picture or a handshake, or something.  A couple times I’ve been walking down Thayer to get a slice of pizza and it’s happened.

BlogDH: Sooooo… What are you going to do with the $75,000?
Leo: I was planning on getting a car some time when I go home for Christmas break.  I spent a little bit on a new guitar and some sound equipment, that kind of stuff.

BlogDH: What was your favorite question you answered on the show?
Leo: [Smiling.] The last one.*

BlogDH: Can you tell us a little bit about your hair?
Leo: [Chuckles.] When I was younger I used to get haircuts a lot, and then I got tired of going to the barbershop. So one day I decided to stop cutting it and it’s sort of grown into what it is now.

Everyone loves a good Mean Girls reference, duh.

BlogDH: What was the application process for you to get onto the show?
Leo: The first thing is an online test… it’s like fifty questions, fifteen seconds per question. Ten thousand people took it this past year. They called back two or three hundred people for auditions in one of four cities. New Orleans was the closest to me. After that audition I had to take another fifty-question test, do an interview, and some fake mock games. That was in August for me, but they held them from August to September. The fifteen people they chose to be on the show were chosen in October. We flew out in November, the week of Thanksgiving, to LA.

BlogDH: Where were you when you found out you got a spot?
Leo: In my house watching TV. They called at night and I said, “Oh hey, cool I got on the show,” and continued to watch TV.

BlogDH: Were your parents happy?
Leo: I’d assume my mom was happy.

BlogDH: We have to ask you… Ratty or V-Dub?
Leo: Oh, V-Dub. Don’t have to walk all the way across campus and the food’s better.

BlogDH: Anything else you want us to contribute or say to the student body?
Leo: No, I’m all right.

*If you were wondering what that last question was, get a hold of this: Leo and his two opponents were asked the following question: “On June 6, 1944 he said, ‘The eyes of the world are upon you.’” Assuming that neither of his opponents would know the correct answer, and taking into consideration the lead he had, Leo responded, “Who is some guy in Normandy but I just won $75,000,” thus making him the coolest winner of Teen Jeopardy… ever.

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