Kyra Ryleigh: We’re here today with Patricia Wong, an art recovery specialist and recently the person of interest in several high-end heists.
Patricia, good morning.
Patricia Wong: Good Morning, Kyra. How are you today?
Kyra Ryleigh: You recently turned the art world upside down when you were investigated for the theft of some high-profile jewelry pieces that you were supposed to be protecting.
Patricia Wong: It turns out that was a massive misunderstanding. I had been tracking down a thief, and he managed to frame me for some of his crimes.
Kyra Ryleigh: Did you ever catch the thief?
Patricia Wong: Sort of.
Kyra Ryleigh: It sounds like there’s more to that story.
Patricia Wong: Our paths crossed for a time. He became an informant and helped me solve several additional art thefts.
Kyra Ryleigh: So you keep in touch?
Patricia Wong: Pause. Not any more.
Kyra Ryleigh: So tell us a little more about yourself. Your father was a renowned art preservation specialist?
Patricia Wong: He was very well known internationally for assisting with the preservation of art and history.
Kyra Ryleigh: So, he was the reason you went into your line of work?
Patricia Wong: Absolutely. He had a wonderful perspective that behind every piece of art was a story. As a young girl I became fascinated with the “story behind the art”, and began studying and learning as much as I could about everything. I would listen to his stories for hours – that’s one of the things I miss the most.
Kyra Ryleigh: I remember when he disappeared from the art world. There was a lot of speculation as to what happened. Some people think he’s still alive and in hiding because one of his, “stories behind the art” was actually a true story of international conspiracy.
Patricia Wong: I don’t think I’ll ever know the truth behind his disappearance. If he was alive, I guess I’d always thought he would have contacted me. Just to let me know he was safe.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m sure he would have. You’ve also become well-known internationally in your own right. Why did you choose to become an insurance recovery specialist?
Patricia Wong: It’s my way of continuing my father’s legacy. He found so many treasures and worked with so many governments to preserve their heritage, but after he disappeared a lot of those doors closed. By protecting the world’s treasures and tracking down stolen artwork I feel that I am continuing in his footsteps, but in my own way.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m sure he would be very proud of you.
Patricia Wong: Thank you. I like to think so.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m sure our readers would love to get to know you a little bit more.
Patricia Wong: Laughs. Ask away.
Kyra Ryleigh: After being pushed into the spotlight, you have been named one of our city’s most eligible bachelorettes. Are you currently seeing anyone?
Patricia Wong: Not at the moment. I usually get lost in my work, and it’s hard to find someone as passionate as I am about artwork and their untold stories.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m sure you’ve been on a lot of dates. What’s the most interesting date you’ve ever been on?
Patricia Wong: That’s hard to say. It’s probably some of the dates that I’ve been asked to go on, but have chosen not to that are the most interesting.
Kyra Ryleigh: That sounds juicy. Care to share?
Patricia Wong: One guy asked me to come and appraise his art collection.
Kyra Ryleigh: That doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, given your job and interests.
Patricia Wong: He wanted me to appraise it in my bathing suit.
Kyra Ryleigh: laughs. Ok, that does sound a bit odd. One piece or two?
Patricia Wong: I’m not sure there was enough fabric to be considered either.
Kyra Ryleigh: So, creepy art collector is at the top of your worst dates.
Patricia Wong: It’s definitely one of them. I had another guy offer to take me to Europe to have an artist create statues of both of us.
Kyra Ryleigh: Like a carved marble statue?
Patricia Wong: He said he could be the new David, and I could be the new Aphrodite of Milos.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m guessing you said no.
Patricia Wong: He was quite persistent. I finally convinced him that due to my line of work all potential guys I wanted to date had to go through a full FBI background check.
Kyra Ryleigh: I’m guessing he didn’t stick around.
Patricia Wong: He said he had to go to a foreign country to be treated for a rare illness he had just been diagnosed with.
Kyra Ryleigh: So what does a perfect date look like?
Patricia Wong: I’d know it when it happened. laughs.
Kyra Ryleigh: I think we all would. laughs. So, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Patricia Wong: I like spending most of my spare time learning about art, but I guess there’s a lot of overlap to my real job. I enjoy reading a good book, having a nice dinner out with friends, and especially love a leisurely bath and some music at the end of a long day.
Kyra Ryleigh: That sounds quite relaxing. What type of music do you like?
Patricia Wong: I like a variety of music. Growing up with my father I visited lots of countries and came to appreciate the different sounds and styles from around the world. One of my favorite concerts was when I had an opportunity to see Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman perform Time to Say Goodbye in concert. But I love to see local music acts whenever I am traveling. Ireland, Scotland, India, Egypt, Chile, Mexico, Russia. Lots of other countries. I’ve traveled to over thirty countries, and I think I’ve gone to at least one concert in each country.
Kyra Ryleigh: You’ve been all over the world. Is there anywhere left on your wish list of countries to visit?
Patricia Wong: I’ve never been to Greece for an extended period of time, and I would love to go and stay in one of the coastal cities. Maybe catch one of their national celebrations. I may have to take some language lessons though.
Kyra Ryleigh: I was just going to ask you how many languages you can speak.
Patricia Wong: I can speak a few different languages well enough to get by. Most of the time I travel I have a local contact who assists me.
Kyra Ryleigh: Speaking of national celebrations, do you have a favorite holiday?
Patricia Wong: I don’t have a single favorite holiday. Different cultures and countries have so many different holidays and celebrations, and I have enjoyed many of them. Most prevalent is probably Christmas. Over 150 countries have some form of Christmas celebration. I’ve actually attended Christmas celebrations in eight countries, and have been enjoyed the local traditions.
Kyra Ryleigh: Is there one that sticks out?
Patricia Wong: I was in Caracas, Venezuela one year. On Christmas Eve they close the streets in the morning and everyone can roller skate to Mass. I felt like a kid again, although probably looked quite awkward given the number of years that had passed between my roller-skating experiences.
Kyra Ryleigh: laughs. I think I would have fallen too many times to actually make it to Mass.
Patricia Wong: I almost didn’t.
Kyra Ryleigh: Well, we’re almost out of time. Do you have anything big planned on the horizon?
Patricia Wong: There’s a fantastic art exhibit coming to town that features many Egyptian artifacts.
Kyra Ryleigh: Are there any highlights I shouldn’t miss?
Patricia Wong: The whole exhibit is fantastic. You can see a variety of tools they used, some artwork related to their religion, some carvings that have been brought over. There is a bunch of fascinating information about their daily lives.