The Hamptons polo season starts this Saturday, and one of the world’s most famous players, occasional Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras, moves into his Sag Harbor summer rental to prepare. (Okay, let’s face it, he’s the only famous polo player. Why is he the only one anyone ever talks about? Because he’s hot? Okay, that’s fair.) He’ll be playing in Bridgehampton each Saturday through mid-August. The eternally adorable Argentine explained the appeal of the game to Julie Earle-Levine and answered our ultimate burning questions about polo: Isn’t it really just about wearing pastel and drinking Champagne? (Answer: apparently not.)
Does anyone in the U.S. actually follow polo?
New Yorkers are obviously very into baseball and football, but I think that New Yorkers are very open-minded, so they are really into any sports.
But isn’t the polo thing really just about the Hamptons social scene?
No! Polo is a sport that is very underrated and has a lot more to offer. It is a great thing to do with family. I play polo with my son, who is 8 years old. He is learning the sport. It is a very special thing. The bond you have with horses is very, very special. They are wonderful creatures. You cannot be a polo player unless you have special relationship with horses.
And you think the Bridgehampton crowd appreciates that bond?
Of course some people are there to socialize. But after the matches, many people come up and tell me about the game, and I realize they have been following it. When I first got to America, in 1999, I couldn’t understand baseball. It is the same with polo. You need to learn the game and watch it. Then you can appreciate it.
Is it played in places more accessible to normal people than the Hamptons and Greenwich?
You need room, like fourteen acres. There is a polo club in Meadow Brook, Long Island, a club in Greenwich, and a club in Millbrook, upstate New York.
And the crowd seems to be all models, media barons, and hedge-fund guys.
I think polo is for everyone. Polo is for kids, family, and everyone. Polo is a sport that brings together people from all over the world. I mean, a guy like me, from middle-class family in Argentina, I met the Queen and played polo there, and then I spend a lot of time with the grooms in the barns.
Related: http://nymag.com/nymetro/travel/hamptons/features/6305/They’ve Got Game, Argentina in the Hamptons [NYM]