Jeopardy! contestant Christine Whelchel, a piano teacher and church organist from Spring Hill, Tennessee, revealed a significantly shorter hairstyle during her fourth appearance on the show.
Whelchel had been sporting a mid-length wig previously to conceal her short hair that was the result of going through treatment for breast cancer.
On Monday, she decided to remove it to demonstrate her mission to normalize cancer recovery.
Jeopardy!'s Twitter account shared a video that showed the now cancer-free Whelchel's fearlessness.
In the caption, they described her as:
"A strong Jeopardy! player and an even stronger person. ❤️"
A strong Jeopardy! player and an even stronger person. pic.twitter.com/NQqJS2uAs1— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy!) 1646092800
During the "meet the contestants" segment of the show, Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings gave viewers a heads up that Whelchel may look different than in the previous episodes they might have seen her in.
"If you watched last week you might notice that Christine looks a little different today—tell us about your look," Jennings said to Whelchel.
She then opened up about her decision to ditch the wig to reveal her hair regrowth.
“After winning, I decided I didn’t need to hide behind the wig anymore," she explained, adding, "and I want to normalize what going through cancer recovery really looks like.”
"Well, you look fabulous," Jennings said. "Congratulations on your recovery and your success on Jeopardy! so far."
Fellow cancer warriors were inspired to join Whelchel in spreading her positive message.
Go Christine!from a fellow warriorpic.twitter.com/pKVTjkKvJl— I like the new tone (@I like the new tone) 1646095743
Rockin\u2019 that post-chemo look, Christine. Here\u2019s me, 6 years ago, and happily now 6 years NED. Congrats, and best of luck on #Jeopardy and to being a long-term survivor.pic.twitter.com/456ytV823J— J Francisco (@J Francisco) 1646158767
Mine grew back curly and it seems to be staying that way.pic.twitter.com/vz5mHW69Ri— Haydhidho (@Haydhidho) 1646103182
Yeah, go grrrl! I was diagnosed in May 2021 and who has time for wigs! We look fab! Spend that money on something amazing! #StrongerthanCancerpic.twitter.com/ez5lVYHgn4— Sherrie Kling (@Sherrie Kling) 1646169756
Thank you for sharing this. As one who is in the same boat (albeit without a wig) I love to see someone rocking the cancer stubble.— Traci Wickett (@Traci Wickett) 1646094009
I absolutely love that Jeopardy! is a place where people feel safe being their true selves! When my mom had cancer, she was self-conscious wearing a wig. She\u2019d love Christine\u2019s courage, and I do too!— Lady Maruva (@Lady Maruva) 1646093802
Congratulations! You look amazing. As one cancer survivor to another, your courageous move to normalize cancer survival is heart-warming and will help countless other survivors. Best of luck on Jeopardy.— Theresa \ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf3b (@Theresa \ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\udf3b) 1646100132
On her first appearance, Whelchel explained how her battle with cancer was closely tied to her favorite TV program.
“I was diagnosed in March of 2021, and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the Jeopardy! test, and I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May,” she said.
Rock on, girl. Wigs are hot and itchy. Cancer takes so much from us, don\u2019t let it take your self esteem, too. Rock that short hair and funky glasses and big earrings! Rock on, Christine!— \ud83d\udc9c S,C,W \ud83d\udc9c (@\ud83d\udc9c S,C,W \ud83d\udc9c) 1646094629
Keep fighting! Keep normalizing things that don't need to be hidden! You're so powerful, so strong, and are making such an impact with even this small but mighty gesture!— MandaB9780 (@MandaB9780) 1646157313
She confirmed that everything “went well” during her surgery and that she is “cancer-free as of right now.”
As of Monday, Whelchel had earned a four-day total of $73,602 after being the only contestant to get the correct response of "What is Sarajevo?" in Final Jeopardy.