"From the moment we were born identical twins, we got lots of attention." Patricia said. "We didn't know we were stars and just really enjoyed what we were doing. I went on to have a normal life as a wife and mom but continued to model off and on."
The identical Emory Twins, as they would come to be known, grew to be famous locally when they won a contest to become San Francisco parade princesses. That appearance caught the attention of Hale Brothers' Grant Street Department Store and launched a series of assignments that eventually found the twins in Hollywood and Paris. San Francisco clothing manufacturers hired the twins to help introduce Levis Western Wear to a receptive French public. While there, they modeled for Christian Dior. "Our modeling tour in Paris is the most memorable," said Pat. "We were wined and dined by royalty and had a fabulous time.
Photos courtesy of Patricia Mason
At right, in their heyday as models, the Emory Twins were almost impossible to tell apart. Patricia is the one on the left.
"We were bridesmaids at a wedding in Sacramento, where we met Henry Wilson, David Selznick's top talent scout. He invited us to Hollywood, where we stayed in the Beverly Hills Hotel, met lots of movie stars and eventually appeared as extras in two films - 'I Remember Mama' with Irene Dunne and 'Dark Passage' with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall."
The girls didn't care for the Hollywood lifestyle and decided against a motion picture career, returning to modeling assignments that included the last of the Toni Twins, a series of identical twins who promoted Toni hair products to a national customer base. "I think Priscilla and I became more poised and confident as a result of our modeling work," Pat said.
Another interesting assignment occurred during television's infancy. The twins appeared every Friday night on a show called "Party Time at Club Roma," a local San Francisco show featuring Ben Alexander, who would later become famous as Jack Webb's partner on "Dragnet." But the twins' careers weren't always a bed of roses. "I fell off of a runway at the Mark Hopkins Hotel one time," recalled Pat. "It was dark and I just walked off the end. How embarrassing! Then there were a couple of times when we were approached by men who thought we should do something for them other than model."
The twins appeared in weekly department store newspaper ads, on billboards, in newsreels, and modeled Koret Sportswear. Later in life, Pat took five Princess cruises in 10 months and landed on Princess' advertising brochures. The twins appeared in Look and Parade magazine articles, and Pat wrote a story about the twins' trip to Paris for Modeling World.
Patricia and Priscilla Emory were born in Berkeley on June 19, 1928. They lived in San Jose and San Diego for a few years but returned to San Francisco at the age of 5. Priscilla passed away in 2000 and Pat became ill the very same day. "I was on oxygen two days later," Pat recalled. "We were a classic example of identical twins who were almost the same person. We would often say the same things at the same time."
While the two women were remarkably close physically and mentally, they led very different lives after their modeling careers ended. Priscilla became a well-known interior designer whose company, Decor By Priscilla, designed a number of San Diego facilities, including the exterior-interior design integration of an entire tract of homes and the furnishing of 10 models. Priscilla lived in Hawaii for 10 years and her one marriage ended in divorce without children.
On the other hand, Patricia married and divorced twice. She had four children during her first marriage, three of whom still live in California (one daughter lives in Knightsen) and one in Oregon. She worked in retail for a while after her first divorce in 1964, then ran a gift shop owned by her twin until becoming ill. After recovery, Pat went back to school in San Diego to obtain a Real Estate license, beginning a career that began in Point Loma, where she met and married her second husband, dentist Ralph Mason.
Pat moved to Riverside, quit work and for a time lived very well, spending time at the Racket Club in Palm Springs, at a beach house in Newport Beach, and a mountain cabin. But Pat's second marriage didn't work out and she returned to Real Estate in 1970, working in Riverside and Apple Valley, where she sold Roy Rogers' old home. All told, her Real Estate career spanned 34 years.
When Pat became too ill to continue working, she moved to Brentwood's Summerset Orchards, where despite being afflicted with COPD, she remains active in Summerset events. "This is a wonderful place to retire and I've enjoyed the events and people here," she said. Her daughter Katie is close by and, along with neighbors and friends, Katie is attentive to Pat's needs.
As for people remembering her and her past life, Pat said, "I only recently came back to the Bay Area, so not many people know me anymore. But now and again someone will recognize me as one of the Toni twins. My daughter Katie is a nurse and recently had a patient from San Francisco who remembered Priscilla and me."