“One should always try to follow their passion, work hard, and remain focused to achieve anything,” multi-hyphenate Rinaa Shah reveals. “There is no age barrier in pursuing anything one wants to do.”
She has held onto this belief throughout her life and succeeded by going for whatever her heart desires. When Rinaa sets her eyes on something, there will be no turning back. For one, her discovery of polo more than a decade ago and victoriously embraced the sport. Thus, making her the first Indian woman polo player.
But her achievements don’t just end there. Even before polo came into her life, the lady boss made waves in her home country as she chased one dream to another. Five years ago, in our previous interview, we learned about Rinaa’s passion for fashion and her self-established brand Rinaldi Design. During our recent catch-up session, though, we found out that her bucket list goes beyond polo and style.
“I became India’s first shoe designer at 23, a polo player at 40, and a DJ at 45. This all happened because I followed my passion and did not let any external force demotivate me. You have to give 200% in what you choose to do and give your everything to succeed,” she tells POLO LADY.
An All-Around Gal
The style expert’s label carried polo boots as well as customized them. They also have handcrafted handbags with vintage scarves, which were all a hit among many polo players and equine enthusiasts. But being in fashion isn’t her sole purpose, she believes. In 2019, Rinaa took a sabbatical “to pursue my dreams of playing polo and becoming a DJ and a drummer.”
Prior to this vacation, the polo player’s career in the sport of kings is already thriving. Apart from traveling the globe to compete in polo tournaments, Rinaa launched her team in 2014—the Rinaldi Polo Team. For years, the group played all over India, including their unforgettable win in the 2016 Hermes Cup in Jodhpur.
Fast forward to a few years later, and the polo lady added DJ and drummer to her resume. “Since then, I have played at many venues and became a professional drummer doing LED and water drums,” she proudly offers.
With the pandemic still hindering outdoor activities, Rinaa, of course, has to take a breather. She was forced to shut down her factory due to the situation, and events have become scarce at the moment. “It’s been quite slow and everything has been lowkey,” she says. “Hopefully, things get better soon—but riding and training goes on.”
While she busies herself with the horses and a few gigs here and there, the go-getter didn’t let this limit her dreams. Her new venture, a restaurant, is set to open soon!
Inspiring Women And Youth In India
All of her accomplishments weren’t fulfilled just for her sake, though. Rinaa realizes one dream after another to inspire people and make a difference. “I want people to always remember me as that woman who decided to do anything at any age and never gave up,” the polo player muses.
Rinaa never fails to include that extra flair in her tasks, especially when it comes to polo. With India still lacking proper facilities to accommodate those who wish to take up the sport, she exerts more effort to introduce the challenging activity to anyone open to trying it.
Of course, she’s keen on inviting and empowering females to the world of polo. “I inspire more young women to take up riding so they can experience the beautiful feeling of riding horses,” the polo player mentions. “I am also trying to speak to my club and see if I can get the young girls a good discount to enter the club and start riding. Every opportunity I get to inspire the youth to take this sport up, I do. And I have succeeded, too—but the journey continues.”
But her work doesn’t just end there. “I try and call as many people as possible to see the sport. I also do many interviews, so more and more people see that if I can do it, then anyone can do it, especially when I started playing in my late 30s,” Rinaa details.
Generous with wise words, the multi-hyphenate also advises aspiring polo players on how to amp up their game. “Being passionate, focused, very hardworking, and patient is key. As a very difficult sport, one needs to put in a lot of work and give a lot of time understanding horses and their tactics,” Rina suggests, adding that “one needs to do this every day of their life, and the love for the sport makes it easier to put in the hard work.”
It would be lovely to meet a person like Rinaa, and you may be able to encounter her in the coming months. She’s already lined up a plan for her polo journey, which includes participating in Romaine India’s first beach polo in 2022. She’s also looking forward to attaining a couple more dreams in the near future.
“I want to play beach polo in Ibiza, and then snow polo in St. Moritz. These two are my dreams, and I will fulfill them,” the inspiring lady claims.
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.