The Countess is back!

The Countess at dinner the night before the Oscars.

The Countess at dinner the night before the Oscars.

There is no mistaking the fact that the Oscars are in town.  Fashion houses are crushed with requests, top restaurants are over-booked, five star hotels have waiting lists and limousines are everywhere.

With a tradition that dates back to the first Academy Awards presentation in 1929, the event has continued to grow and attract international attention featuring audiences and parties thrown and attended by some of the wealthiest and most beautiful people in the world.

Reportedly seen in a private room at Mr. Chow’s were the director (Paolo Sorrentino)  and star (Toni Servillo) of the Oscar nominated Foreign Language Film, The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza), with a handful of guests that included Francois Ozon, Giuseppe Tornatore and the 6’ 1” blonde beauty Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans.

All heads turned as the statuesque supermodel made her way to the private room that hosted the esteemed European contingent, much to the chagrin of 5’7” Toni Servillo.

It wasn’t her height that captured everyone’s eye, it was her grace and elegance.

There was much talk over dinner and drinks about the European film industry and the inroads they have made over the years when all eyes turned to the Countess.

“And, my dear, what are your film plans,” asked Spanish director Pablo Berger, “when will you be making your film debut?”

The Countess smiled demurely and attempted to brush the request aside.  They had been after her for years, dating back to the days when she first took over many of the world’s fashion magazine covers, but she had managed to avoid the calling of the lights and cameras until now.

Servillo was seen to be fuming in the corner as every major foreign director at the table courted the blonde beauty.

“Herb Cheyette told her that she was the only woman who ever made him late for an appointment,” offered Ozon.  “He said that she was the next Raquel Welch.”

Laughter and merriment filled the room, but there was no turning aside the continued requests from the directors for some indication that the Countess would submit to their requests.

Bay Area Touring

The globe-trotting Countess du Lau d’Allemans returned to the bay area after an extended stay in Europe and then a joyful romp to Bora Bora for a Polynesian respite.  Comfortable in and around the San Francisco bay area, Texas-born Joy Ford was joined by a tall Brazilian polo player with chiseled profile and an athletic build and a couple of teammates who made a mid-week run north from the Santa Barbara Polo Club where they had been competing for the summer.

Joy Ford

Joy Ford

The swarthy good looks of the South American were a stark contrast to the 6’ 1” bond beauty, but her sun-kissed skin made the two of them a seemingly comfortable match.  All heads turned on Joy and her three companions as they enjoyed a dinner at Sundance the Steakhouse in Palo Alto before hitting the town for some late-night dancing.  It wasn’t long before Joy and her Brazilian dinner partner were left on their own to dance on into the night as their two companions left in the company of a couple of locals intent on showing them the town.

Standing well over six feet tall, the world-class model and her dance partner were the hit of the late night crowd as the music droned on.  Her dark brown eyes and agile gyrations to the music kept him hypnotized as the time disappeared. Her lithe body swayed to the music and his eyes were riveted on her.   A two am closing sent the happy couple on their way.  Holding hands in the car on the drive back to Joao’s hotel was complimented to a single kiss on the cheek that ended the night with a promise of a full day together tomorrow.

Eggs Benedict the next morning at St. Michael’s Alley were devoured by Joy and Joao while Facundo and Jeff straggled in, trying to shake off a very late evening.  Polite morning conversation guided the secrets of the previous night’s activities, with Joao and Joy exchanging flirting glances at one another.  Facundo and Jeff hungrily wolfed down their breakfasts and the crew was on the road.

With the romantic backdrop of the Pacific Ocean to the west, capturing the morning rays of the sun, the foursome started the drive north to the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton.  Menlo is home to one of the country’s oldest polo clubs, dating back to 1923.  The attraction was a cross between business and pleasure as all three of the polo-playing contingent were in the market for additional horses.

A pleasant lunch in the club’s airy dining room and a stroll through the equestrian area saw the California sun sparkle through her long blonde as one after another, the players got on and off of a number of horses that were paraded out for their inspection.

“What are your thoughts,” Joao asked her as the tall Brazilian dismounted.  “Do you think she has the heart for the game,” he smiled.  Joy wasted little time as she took three strides over to the chestnut, scooped the reins out of his hand and threw her right leg over the English saddle.  A heel to the horses side and she was off at a gallop, racing down the field before collecting the horse in a controlled stop, spinning around its hind quarters and racing back to the stunned threesome.

“Yep,” Joy said, “I think she’ll be just fine.”

Joao was smugly silent for most of the trip back to Palo Alto but was noticeably proud of her horsemanship skills.  His two teammates couldn’t stop asking Joy about her childhood, how old she was when she started to ride, how often she rides now and why she wasn’t playing polo with them.

She dropped them off at their hotel before returning to her friend’s house where she would get changed for a dinner in San Francisco.  She had certainly made an impression on her polo-playing friends, but then she always made an impression wherever she went and whoever she was with.  She was looking forward to tonight.

The Countess of Roaring Fork

Joy ford, at the family ranch in Aspen, Colorado

A far cry from the popping flashbulbs of the paparazzi in Cannes and Monaco, Joy Ford settled into the peaceful confines of her father’s 650 acre ranch along the Roaring Fork River in Aspen, Colorado.

Her previous month’s travels took the Countess du Lau d’Allemans from St. Tropez to Monte Carlo to Cannes and to London.  A return to the Film Festival in Cannes preceded an impromptu jaunt to Bora Bora where she is reported to have lounged in the sun of the French Polynesian locale.

A brief stop in Dallas, Texas to see her father and then she was on her way to Aspen, Colorado.

Reports of dinners at the Petroleum Club (dating back to the 1930s, the Dallas Petroleum Club has evolved from a fraternity of prominent oil men into one of the finest private clubs in the country) surfaced after her arrival in Dallas, visits with old friends and a few discreet dinners highlighted the layover for the vivacious blonde.

Whispers about her impending arrival that were heard in the festivities of the wine and food festival, but no one seemed to be quite sure of when she was going to arrive.

When Joy finally arrived, the Gulfstream jet she deplaned from was met by a black,  liveried  Range Rover, with the driver hurriedly loading her luggage into the SUV right on the tarmac.  The 6’ 1” beauty disappeared behind the tinted windows of the vehicle as it sped off.  The arrival was duly noted in the Aspen Times, and promises of royal sighting abounded through the mountain community.

The old saying goes that “the famous come to Aspen to feel normal, and the normal come to Aspen to feel famous” seems to have been created for the Countess.  After a whirlwind May it seems that she is comfortable relaxing on the confines of the family ranch and trying to blend in with the locals—a great trick if you can manage to hide a tall super model in the small mountain town.

St. Tropez Polo Club, Monaco Grand Prix and Les Caves du Roy

 Rains might have affected some of the larger polo clubs in Europe over the past few weeks, but the spirits are high in St. Tropez, and the club’s second tournament of the season is underway.

An expanded development has two more fields being added to the club and barns that can stable hundreds of horses. An expanded restaurant plays host to spectators and players as the six-team that include Germany’s Sebastian Schneberger, Switzerland’s Piero Dillier, Miami’s Franck DuBarry and Argentina’s Santiago Novillo Astrada.

If you’re heading to St. Tropez for the beaches with the sand and the surf, then July and August are the best months to go, but if you’re in town to enjoy the polo, Corinne Schuler’s St. Tropez Polo Club gets the social globe spinning in May.

There was a time when the royalty of Europe used to compete in the “sport of kings” on the Cote-d’ Azur with HRH King Alfonso of Spain, King Edward VIII, Lord Montbatten of Burma and various Maharajas, Princes, Nabobs and Sultans.

Today the St. Tropez Polo Club continues to attract various noted international players including Prince Jefri of Brunei.

Joining the weekend crowd at the Tournoi de I Ascension was the statuesque Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans.  Although reports have the Countess dancing until the wee hours of the morning at Les Caves du Roy, she managed to make it out to the polo grounds in time for Friday’s late afternoon matches.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of dancing until 6am, Les Caves is the place to go-baroque columns with gold brocade still tower above VIP booths embroidered with the notorious Byblos insignia and oriental touches. The women are the most beautiful in the world and the men; unlike in LA or New York, actually know how to dance. Champagne corks pop by the minute as platinum cards swipes to the percussion of trance and techno remixes. At the helm of the Les Caves du Roy is deejay Jack-E who can spin everything from a Patricia Kaas track to the latest Beyonce track flawlessly.

“Searching for a beach?” one might ask the Countess, who is also the Vice President of the International Beach Polo Association, as rumor has it that there is a world tour being organized and the Countess seems to be scouting locations.

She insists that she’s arriving early for the Monaco Grand Prix (May 24-27) and has a rendezvous with one of the Formula One’s top drivers, or was it a team owner?

Stay tuned.

Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans named VP of International Beach Polo Association


 Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans has been named Vice President of the International  Beach Polo Association and will be working with the non-profit organization to coordinate affiliated charities that will participate in a World Beach Polo Tour©.

Joy Countess du Lau d'Allemans brings global attention to beach polo

Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans brings global attention to beach polo

Joy has been active in charitable causes for some time now and it was felt that her international contacts and experience with charities on a local, national and international will be invaluable to the Association.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the game,” Joy said, “and the opportunity to join work with charities and causes on a worldwide basis and participate in this most exciting of games is a rare opportunity.”

Joy began riding at an early age and did her share of showing.  Although her prowess on the polo field hasn’t been put to the test she can be seen mallet in hand hitting the ball around.

“There’s something very regal about the field game,” she offered, “but I believe the intimacy that is offered by a beach polo arena has a great deal to offer.  Whereas so many times a game of field polo serves as merely a backdrop for a cocktail party, the proximity of the players and horses in beach polo forces the spectators to get involved.”

With current beach polo venues ranging from Argentina to Germany, from Australia and India to England; the game has exploded with its own special brand of the sport of kings. 

“I believe that there is a sense of noblesse oblige that goes hand-in-hand with a noble sport like polo,” Joy added.  “The fact that a great many people are enjoying a day or two of heated competition, cocktail parties and great companionship while raising monies to enrich the lives of children in need, a local community or helping to combat a particular disease or blight, for instance shows a definitive social conscience with which I wholeheartedly support.”

“We’re looking for more than her charitable support,” said International Beach Polo Association Chairman, Alex Webbe.  “We’ll be looking to her to assist in the direction and production of a number of the many fashion shows that accompany our events.”

The 6’ 1” former model was signed by Eileen Ford herself while in her early teens, and doesn’t fail to turn eyes when she enters a room.

“I have to admit that her appearance is an added bonus when it comes to approaching and coordinating efforts with charitable institutions,” said Webbe, “combined with her international experience in the field and many well-placed contacts, we feel very lucky to have her join us.”

The appointment comes as the International Beach Polo Association continues to spread its global wings in an effort to bring the game of polo to a wider audience.

“Polo has always been looked upon as a sport of the elite,” added Webbe, “but we believe that the much more casual approach taken by beach polo sets fans and spectators alike at ease from the first throw-in.”

Recently referred to by the International Polo Federation’s marketing expert, Bruce Colley, beach polo attracts more spectators than any other form of the game in the world.

The IBPA is already scheduled to organize an event in China with a number of other sites clamoring for a like-event.  The addition of Joy Countess du Lau d’Allemans to the Association ranks will only serve to further the growth and popularity of the horse and mallet game.