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Modeling to Mallets: Paula Chermont

By Christia Madacsi

Paula Chermont’s modeling career was launched at the age of 16 when she was discovered on a beach in Portugal; she went on to walk the runways for Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent, among others. At the age of 30, Chermont, a lifelong rider, began her second career as a professional polo player and passionate advocate of the sport in her home country of Brazil.

How did you begin modeling?

At the age of 16, I was discovered by the former director of Elite Models in Lisbon while on the beach in Cascais, Portugal, where I lived for five years. I was then invited to work in Paris where my international career was launched. i’ve worked on campaigns and fashion shows for top national and international designers, such as Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Inès de la Fressange, La Perla, H. Stern, Rosa Chá, Nivea and many other famous brands. Currently I do ad campaigns for banks and fashion shows for jewelry.

You started riding horses at the age of 5 with your father and later began show jumping. What attracted you to polo?

My fondest memories from childhood always revolved around horses. In 2006, a friend of mine invited me to go to a polo club in Rio. He gave me a polo mallet and a polo horse, and in the first minute, I felt all the adrenaline and excitement of the sport. in show jumping, you’re always controlling the horse. You can’t run too fast, but in polo, the faster you go— that’s the way to make goals.

What are your greatest strengths as a player?

My riding skills and my courage. I play position No. 1, which is the most offense- oriented position on the field. I often play on women’s-only teams in international events, but I usually practice with men, and that’s why I’m an aggressive player.

Are you currently in training for a match?

I concentrate my professional activities on international tournaments. I’m now training for the Chicago Beach Polo World Cup.

In 2007, you founded Brazil’s first all- women’s polo team. How do you hope to develop a wider audience for the sport?

My efforts are focused on the popularization of the sport in Brazil. polo is very elitist here in my country, but, for example, in Chile, the polo community elected me as the ambassador of Polo Chile magazine because they recognize all the good I’m doing for polo in my country and abroad. I truly hope that one day I will be recognized by my polo mallet and not only for my beauty. One of my dreams is to find a major sponsor who can help me make the first-ever beach polo school here in Rio. That would be really beautiful.