Most of us know Patsorn Udomritthiruj ’13 as “Tat,” some know her as “Tatty” and it is unclear how many people know her as “Tatty Watty” (or know how to pronounce her last name). After three years (and counting) of spending time with arguably the most stellar personality on campus, however, one thing becomes clear: She is more than a political science and biology double major from Thailand with a passion for bright colors and animal behavior. Tat is TAT.
She walks into Lee Snack Bar for our interview wearing a vintage Armani turquoise two-piece skirt suit, carrying her pet. This interview is serious business, and Udomritthiruj is dressed to impress. Our interview commences as Udomritthiruj strokes her iguana.
When did your obsession with animals begin?
Well, this is really hard. I grew up in a family with lots of animals. My parents had a dog before I was born, and they would always call him my big brother (Horatio). So then, my dad is very into aquatic animals and reptiles, and we had a whole bunch of aquarium fish at home. My dad also used to collect snakes. Our house was actually lined with snake cages for a long time, and he would do things like release snakes under the house to catch rats and host baby snakes in the bathtub. So I guess I always grew up with animals. We also used to feed the snakes little live chicks, and we’d – my brothers and I – sometimes take them to save their lives, so we had a whole bunch of chickens, too. And lots of stray cats that we adopted. And dogs.
I hear you have a pet snake that died. Please tell me more.
WX was his name. So basically one day I go to WX’s cage and there is water everywhere, and I start panicking and I called my dad. And he grabs WX from the tank, and WX had swallowed the mouse the wrong way, and the spine of the mouse was sticking out of its body and he was dying. And my dad tried doing CPR on him but he died. [She looks to her reptile.] I used to give him baths and stuff. We were best friends.
On the topic of animals, would you rather fight a tiger or a shark?
If I were by myself, I would fight the tiger because it would jump up and I would stab its gut. If I were with another person, I would stab them and swim away – so the shark eats them, not me.
I heard from a little bird that your mom is in fashion. Does that explain your sense of style?
I like bright colors. I think colors make me happy, and they make other people happy. My fashion sense is not reflective of my mom because she would be very embarrassed to be associated with me at times. “Fashionable hobo” has been my favorite compliment of all time. I like comfort, but then I dress up, too. I’m kind of an Urban Outfitters fan. I guess people usually say they like my clothing … but that’s probably because they are staring too long and feel awkward and need to make a comment [laughs].
Where were you born?
I was born in Seattle.
But aren’t you British?
I got to see your family over the summer, but can you tell me more about them?
So I have three little brothers named Guengy, Guppy and Ooby. My parents live in Thailand, and my dad is an aquarium fish importer/exporter and owns a fish farm a bit outside of Bangkok. It is pretty cool. There are dogs there. They just hang out and stuff. And my mom is in magazines [and] fashion, and she is currently bringing Vogue into Thailand. She’s kind of cool. Baby Ooby is the only one still in Thailand. He is nine years old.
Tell me what was it like growing up in Thailand.
Well, I didn’t do too much since I left at age 12. I relaxed a lot. But then I got to go to boarding school in England, and that was really great. Why? Because it was just like in the movies. It was an all-girls school, so it was like you were stuck in a box with the same people – 90 people in my class. We all became great friends and did stupid things.
Can you give an example of the crazy things you did at boarding school?
We used to push each other into bushes and also slap each other with candy. Space Pencils are a type of candy that are pencil-shaped, but with creamy jelly inside and hard jelly outside. When you hit people with them, it really hurts. And they come in five different colors – 10 pence each. Cheap whips! Also, none of the doors locked, so we crept into each others’ rooms. We would hide under the bed and in the shelves and scare people. And bang on the housemaster’s door in the middle of the night. We would sneak out at 10 p.m. – after curfew – and watch TV. The housemistress once cut the cord on the TV because she was so mad.
After your adventurous boarding school years, how was that “gap yah”?
Before I came to Williams, I basically spent my gap year at home in Thailand. I got to “become Thai” again and hang out with baby “Ooby Booby.” And a lot of my British friends got to visit, too, so it was basically an extended holiday. I also went to Laos, India, Cambodia and mainly around Thailand – all the way up north, all the way down south.
Does a particular experience stand out?
So basically when we went to Laos there were 15 of us in one hotel room, and we only paid [the equivalent of] 50 cents per person. We spent 10 days there doing absolutely nothing. They had a Family Guy bar and Friends bar, and you sit on these triangle cushions and watch these TV shows all day. And at night you go and do fun stuff. The people always make experiences for me. It was the best bunch of people you could ever be with, apart from Willy B [my entry]. It was just so much fun, the best memories. Most of the time I don’t even care what I am doing, but if I’m in good company that’s all I need.
So, what about your posse, Willy B (and additions)?
I am a Willy B girl, one of the many. If I wasn’t in Willy B my freshmen year I probably wouldn’t have any friends. They are, basically, my life. We still all live together or close enough to walk to each other. We all still love each other. It’s a pretty beautiful thing. For Homecoming senior year we all still hung out together at an entrymate’s house. We even have an entry song (credit: Darryl Brown ’13) [she sings]: “We are Willy B, I got all my entry with me (x2)” to the tune of “We Are Family.”
Finally, the most important question of all: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play you?
Beyoncé. Because she’s basically like me. She calls me for choreography – sometimes.