We have a chat with the multifaceted Rinaa Shah and her journey being a Polo player, DJ and entrepreneur.
It’s never hard to find inspiration and motivation to help us take the right direction. All we have to do is look around and there are many stories that may be exactly what we have been looking for. In a world where women have to still fight for their rightful place and prove themselves in every walk of life, we have women who stand as an ideal example. It’s people like Rinaa Shah who put an end to the age-old debate of whether a woman can do whatever a man can. Her life is everything that every girl and woman needs to listen to when they’re facing the evil that is self-doubt.
Rinaa has led a life that has been a showcase of overcoming any kind of barrier. She has the ability to galvanize people to take action and do what they love. Her becoming one of the few professional female Polo players in India in her late thirties is proof of her eliminating the idea that there’s an age limit to choosing a new profession or simply exploring. Today, she owns a Polo team by the name of RINALDI POLO which boasts of veteran players like Samir Suhag, Chirag Parekh, Gaurav Seghal, and HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh among others.
Over the years, she has also established herself as a footwear designer that boosted International and local clients like Naomi Campbell, Natalie Portman, Goldie Hawn, Rekha, Shilpa Shetty, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Tina Ambani, Gauri Khan and more. She’s a well-known name in the footwear industry and continues to own her space. With RINALDI Polo now established in global markets like Spain, Germany, Mexico and the USA, Rinaa has moved on to master her next passion.
Rinaa Shah has established herself as India’s first women electronic percussionist along with establishing herself as a known electronic drummer and DJ in India and Amsterdam. She established and certified herself as the top 10 DJs at the DJ School of Amsterdam last year and is now a regular name in the Indian party/music roster (played at Dome, Theory, Four Seasons, Arth, and more) and has played LIVE with international artists like Jay Sean and Sam Feldt.
A multifaceted individual who has achieved perfection in everything she does, she launched TOTEM, a boutique restaurant and bar spread over 6000 sq. ft. of real estate at Aarambol, GOA. The new restaurant launched recently in GOA, and the experience is built around the central theme of being Modern – Tribal. The restaurant is known for its 40 ft. bar, and bespoke cocktails are their key offering along with the food menu. Rinaa has defied convention and has mastered everything she loves. Be it sports, fashion, music, or business. We had the opportunity to get to know more about her life and professional life.
Here’s what she had to share!
Polo as a sport in India has a very niche target but you have made a name for yourself and the country in this sport. Was Polo always your choice of sport? Where did your love for Polo come from?
“Actually, I fell in love with Polo when I had never sat on a horse ever in my life. So Polo was never in my thoughts. As a child, I was a 100-meter national runner and then played squash tennis and swimming, but always wanted to play a team sport. It’s just that it came late in my life, when I saw the sport for the first time I never thought I would ever be able to play the sport but when I started training and working hard I felt I could do it and I should give it my best shot. That’s where Polo became my addiction and horses my love.”
Can you talk a bit about your Polo team ‘RINALDI POLO’ and your future plans regarding the same?
“So the RINALDI Polo team came in 2014 after one year I started playing the game. I always wanted my own sports team but never knew it would come true this way with this sport at this age. I played with my team in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Thailand, USA etc. and the International women’s team. Future I want to invite more women to play in India under my polo team and every year I will make a team encourage women or younger players. That’s the future plan.”
Considering how India is a country that majorly admires Cricket as a sport, why do you think other sports are slowly being recognised with people trying to get into them?
“Every sport is important in its own way, yes cricket is popular in India but polo is royalty and one of the toughest sports in the world. But other sports are getting that attention slowly and I have lived polo by taking Indian polo international and being written to have the other countries see us differently. We all have to try to live the sport we play.“
Talking of firsts, you’re also India’s first woman electronic percussionist. How were you introduced to electronic drumming and what place does music have in your life?
“So I was in Gurgaon and failed in a restaurant project but had the home lease and did not want to return back embarrassed so what I noticed that there was a drum room in the building and I had nothing to do so I hired a teacher, and I dedicated one year to just learning the drums and in one year I became an electronic drummer and performed my first gig at Delhi Private club. Music is in my DNA. I was a Bharat Natyam dancer at the age of 15, and a Kathak dancer at 20 then learnt the piano but then got busy with business.“
What is the best part of DJ-ing? And what was it like to play on international stages like The Dome and Theory?
“I love being a DJ and I love making people happy and dancing. The best feeling of leaving my stress away when I am on the console I am on top of the world and music is best feeling.“
You continue to learn and try new things. Do you think there’s a limit to what a person can learn? What is your idea of hustle?
“There’s never a limit to learning, one should keep learning all their life. That’s the true essence of living. You die when you don’t learn. Regarding hustle, I am Gujarati. I am a born hustler. I get what I want and I will work hard and hustle to achieve it. It’s a continuous process.“
What does it feel like to don multiple hats and excel in every one of them? Is there anything that you find more difficult or challenging than the other?
“Polo is the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Everything else seems super easy in front of that. Having said that, everything does come with its own unique set of challenges.“
Do you have a favorite profession or do all of them top the list?
“Nothing is my favorite and all are my favorite. They help in different phases of my life and in different moods.“
A message you would like to share with people doing what they love and trying to learn new things in life.
“You have one life and live it to the best of your being. No age or gender can stop you if you want it badly, follow your passion always.“
Hope we get to see her accomplish more and cross new milestones in her life.