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The Captivating Story of A Man With A Passion

editorial & arteditorial

26 February 2019

The energy that flows over you, the powerful essence and athletic look to create the charisma! This is Rommy Gianni, a powerful man filled with a strong character, with a sense of reading through and understanding life at all its levels! His life story is so captivated that you would want to listen to him for hours, being funny, sad, inspiring and motivational, all at once. He will be part of the book written by Andra Oprea, the founder of the concept Stylezza, and here presented with a small part from the interview! 

Your life story starts on Italian land! Where from exactly?

I'm from Rome and I moved to Monaco in the early 80s. I was seven years old when I came here. I moved here with my mother and my sister. My father worked in Rome in Real Estate business, he came to see us at the weekend. He had a big passion for Polo and quickly it became my passion, as well.

It's like a heritage!

Yes! Then, I started in a boarding school in Switzerland from the age of twelve till the age of eighteen, and then I had my studies in Monaco at the American University. After, I went to work in Rome with my father, in the real estate business. I was living between Rome and Monaco for about eighteen years. I remained in Monaco to develop real estate investments. I, also, started to develop my polo passion.

When did you start playing polo?

I started playing polo at 21 when I moved to Rome to work with my father. So I've been playing polo for twenty-one years, now. I did my first tournaments in Uruguay, and it was amazing, I have great memories. From there, I played with my father. His team was called La Romano which reminds us of the classical Romans and we played several tournaments together in Spain, In Italy, at Cortina, in Rome, in Argentina, for many years. The best polo memories are those with my father.

How was the routine there, in the tournaments?

Polo, then, was very different from nowadays. Polo was played with two pros and two non-pros, in the team. I would say that it was less competitive, it was a lighter sport, it had a fun part that I miss. Nowadays, is a lot more competitive. The teams are set with three pros and one non-pro. So, you can understand that we have eight players on the field, six are pros. So, the game is a lot faster. Everyone wants to win.

In the last past years, polo has expanded a lot. It is considered a sport of elite, some may consider it a snobby sport, and it still remains a sport for the wealthy people. But this is changing with more people playing, by renting horses, and not having to buy horses, which is more expensive. Sharing a team with other players, also, reduces the costs, trying to making it playable for a lot of people. 

When did you create the Monte Carlo Polo Team?

It was in 2011. Monte Carlo Polo Team is the only official team that represented Monaco ever since it was created. We won three times in a row the St Moritz World Cup on snow and we have won fourteen tournaments out of eighteen. Monte Carlo Polo Team participated in competitions in Brazil, Argentina, Marocco, England, Azerbaijan, Paris, St Tropez, Miami. It started out because of my passion for polo and I always wanted to do it in Monaco. Unfortunately, the spaces are very limited.

I started off with a team. In the beginning, I was playing with my father. At 66, he said it was time to stop playing. So, he decided to quit, and, at that point, I decided to make my own team. I went to Argentina and did "La Locura" which is "Crazy Thing" and it lasted for a couple of years because I broke my shoulder and it took me nine months to recover. And I thought it was better to stop. I gained weight at that time. It was depressing because I couldn't play, I couldn't do sport, it was going bad. Then, I met my coach, Marco, ten years ago. He said he would help me recover and become more competitive than I had ever been. I followed him, I had a really good nutritionist in Rome and, for ten months, I was like a soldier. It was a regime of super healthy food and I was really into it and really fascinated by this. I lost all the weight I had to lose. I became like a super athlete at the age of 34. Not even in my 20s I was like that.

Because you followed this routine that was very strict! What was the routine about?

The routine was tough because I had to keep up with the work and with the training, as well. I used to wake up early in the morning at 6, training for a couple of hours, office and, after that, in the evening, another two hours of training from six to eight o'clock. All of these with a healthy lifestyle, healthy food and super diets, six-seven times a week. At first, it's like a sacrifice! Then, it becomes a passion, the sacrifice goes away and it becomes almost unstoppable. I am not supposed to say this but, in a way, it's bad because you're not social anymore. You go for dinners and people look at you like you're some kind of an alien because I'm having water while others are having wine, or salad while others have chicken. It's always good in between. But I wanted to do it because it's incredible how it mentally changes you. This is a good school because I think, from there, anything you want to do in life, the rules are the same, you have to be persistent and, little by little, you get to your goals. It was a good lesson. After nine months I let go and I found my good average, the good way in between. 

You have, also, a passion for polo fashion. Along with Flavio Briatore and Phillip Plein, you have created the Billionaire brand. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, my idea was to launch a brand and to do a quality event. To organize a polo tour, like a Grand Prix. I thought it would be nice to do it with all the super teams around the world in locations like Monaco, London, Dubai, Miami. Speaking with Flavio Briatore and Philipp Plein about this, little by little, after several meetings together, they thought it was a good idea to fit in polo with Billionaire brand. Billionaire is an elite brand so the polo was the best thing to add to it as a sports line for the brand. The target for the brand is the 35-60 years old men with a healthy lifestyle.

What does the fashion line include?

With the polo side, we have saddles, boots, helmets, gloves, polo mallets, the polos, the pants, jackets, shorts, a lot of crocodile leather. Many will go out in June, not before. 

We decided to go with this idea and we thought of doing a fashion show in Milan. We looked for a location, we found Palazzo del Senato, in the center of Milan, a small space like 35/30sqm. For a polo field, it is very small, but I tried to fit in with the players, we did two against two instead of four against four. Philipp asked to have a stallion as well. He wanted ten horses, as well. We had ten horses, four players, the stallion, the rider, the models, and all the people watching. All in that space! I was stressed about it because I wanted everything to be perfect. We had a trial at 17:30 before the show at 20:30, it looked kind of ok. We had the show and, for me, the dream came true.

It's quite a mix of fashion and polo. Will you do it here in Monaco, as well?

In Monaco, it will be between the 4th and the 6th of July, in front of La Rascasse. It will be at night time, we will be three against three as the place is limited. We'll have six teams: Monaco, Dubai, USA, South Africa, England, Russia. It's going to be a super nice event. It's going to be, also, the fashion show and, to make it even better, there will be some famous singers involved. The idea is to do this every year.

Will it be like a launch of new collections every year?

Yes, the fashion show will have the polo collection.

Do you think that, in the future, it's going to be more related to fashion?

Milan was a fashion and a polo show. This time, it will be a polo tournament and a fashion show. 

Stay tuned for Rommy Gianni's captivating stories in the book to come soon!

Author Andra Oprea