Fresh Face of Women’s Polo
Paula Chermont and ACT Productions
Photos by Hellmund
There is something innately sexy about the sport of polo. Majestic horses galloping on the field ridden by fine tuned athletes and being watched by elite spectators. Add to this scenario Brazilian fashion model and polo player Paula Chermont and the seductive sands of South Beach, and the sport of polo has become even sexier.
Five years ago, after witnessing polo being played in the snow, Bruce Orosz and ACT Productions knew that Miami Beach, directly in front of the Hotel Victor, was an unbeatable locale.
Orosz’s idea took cultivation. The tournament began as the renegade polo event, the party after Palm Beach. Today, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup has gained significant traction – as demonstrated by greater attendance and sponsors – and is a highly anticipated annual happening, so much so that Orosz decided to incorporate a women’s tournament in 2009. The results of the female component were phenomenal and Orosz is now expanding on that success with Chermont becoming the new face of the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup and women’s polo as a whole.
“Once we anchored the tournament and decided to promote the women’s competition, word spread throughout Palm Beach and elsewhere,” explained Orosz. “I knew we could get two teams, but before we knew it there were eight.”
Chermont attributes the fast growth of the women’s game on South Beach to its youth. “The girls are very excited to play on the beach,” she said. “Our game has a greater opportunity to grow because it is at the beginning.”
But don’t think that the women’s game is any less exciting than the men’s. In fact, it is not uncommon for men and women to play together and according to Chermont, when the women compete against one another, the matches are emotionally more visceral.
“When women compete with other women,” she explained, “they are much more aggressive than men – not only on the field, but in life. I have to confess that I like playing with the men more than with the women.”
Chermont’s love for horses began as a child when she began riding at age five and competed in the highly dangerous sport of show jumping for 10 years.
Professionally, Chermont was working as a fashion model before deciding to reach back to the happiness of her childhood by taking up polo. Currently, she is the only woman that is both a fashion model and polo player.
“I’m a great rider, I have to confess,” she said. “I fell in love with polo because it is not an individual sport like show jumping, which is very predictable. Polo has more adrenaline, excitement and risk. It’s the only collective equestrian sport.”
The foresight to add a women’s tournament is yet another insightful decision for Orosz and ACT Productions. Since 1982, Orosz has been paving the way for much of the success that Miami currently enjoys. When the city was marred by the unhealthy reputation of drug lords, dilapidated buildings and shoot outs in the streets, Orosz counteracted this seedy element by bringing to Miami Beach a business concept that he developed in New York.
“ACT started in 1978 by handling the travel logistics for fashion shoots,” he explained. “We quickly moved into rock-n-roll and were producing the travel arrangements for rock bands. In ’82, I realized that Miami was an untapped market and opened an office at the Fontainebleau. We began promoting Miami in Europe to the fashion world and before we knew it, we would have 20 motor homes at any given time facilitating fashion shoots.”
These highly strategic business moves in the early ‘80s are a cornerstone for the renaissance that Miami has experienced throughout the past 25 years. Each step of the way, ACT has been a part of the growth and today the company handles many of the production elements for Art Basel as well as the pre- and post-event productions for the Orange Bowl game, corporate events and much more.
Polo on South Beach is yet another creation that Orosz and ACT Productions initiated that is shaping the positive perception of the community. In this sultry city where events, fashion and sexiness reign supreme, South Beach polo is fitting in nicely, quickly becoming another defining attribute in a city that has only scratched the surface of its potential.
Aaron Glickman is a writer, actor and filmmaker. Through his contributions to SocialMiami, he has had opportunities to document many fascinating people and organizations in the fields of philanthropy, the arts, fashion, design and real estate including Carolina Herrera, James Rosenquist, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Russell Simmons, Nicole Miller, Christian Louboutin, Lin Arison and many more. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami Theater Center (MTC) and is on the Executive Committee of the National YoungArts Foundation.