Nicole Kidman, Luke Evans Attend 10th Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, Female Players Join Match for First Time

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Nicole Kidman

Along the Hudson River shoreline, female polo players joined the match for the first time as stars surrounded themselves with seersucker, ponies and day-drinking for a good cause.

Polo is nicknamed “the sport of kings,” yet Saturday’s Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic was steeped with female empowerment. At Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J. — a quick ferry ride from Lower Manhattan — women took the field for the first time at the bicoastal exhibition’s annual Tri-State Area match, making up half the players. “It’s the tenth anniversary, so isn’t that about time?” asked CBS This Morning host Gayle King.

Vocal feminists Priyanka Chopra (Baywatch) and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) walked the grass carpet, as did the latest recipient of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, Keri Russell (accompanying her boyfriend and co-star on The Americans, Matthew Rhys), plus Nicole Kidman, who won an individual award last week at Cannes and starred in The Beguiled, for which Sofia Coppola became the second woman in seven decades to accept the film festival’s best director statuette. Post-game, Alicia Keys opened a three-song set with “Girl on Fire,” wearing a cape printed dozens of times with the phrase, “SHE’S THE BOSS!”

Her charity, Keep a Child Alive, benefited from the $150-to-$500 tickets. In the days prior, founder and eventual MVP Nacho Figueras — who played alongside wife Delfina Blaquier and against their teen son, Hilario — threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, and the Empire State Building gleamed in an approximation of the beverage house’s trademarked orange (Pantone 137 C). In the VIP tent, it was possible to be patted on the arm and ordered to vacate an oversized ottoman: “I’m sorry, I’ve got to seat these people here. They’re with the princess,” meaning Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, the eldest child of Monaco’s Prince Albert II.

An afternoon partly celebrating the fairer sex lent itself well to Veuve Clicquot’s 245-year history. Centuries ago, at age 27, Barbe Nicole-Ponsardin assumed control of the brand from her late husband and decided to specialize in champagne production, solidifying her now-mythic status as “the Widow Clicquot.”

Wonder Woman, the No. 1 movie at this weekend’s box office, was also on guests’ minds. Beauty and the Beast’s Luke Evans — who will play the superhero’s creator in the upcoming film Professor Marston & the Wonder Women — hoped to see the current blockbuster, starring his two-time co-star, that evening. “Obviously I love Gal Gadot,” he said. “I met her when I did Fast [& Furious] 6, and she’s a wonderful woman, a great actress.” Of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s “awesome” all-female screening in Austin, Texas, Evans declared, “I hope they all dress up and 'Lynda Carter' the hell out of it.”

For his part, the Classic’s host, Neil Patrick Harris — a former Emmy, Oscar and Tony emcee — was all self-deprecating gibes. “I’ve never even been to a polo match, ever,” began the actor, clad in purple pants, on leave from the Vancouver set of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. “I Googled and watched videos of the rules, so that I wasn’t really, really inept when I was talking to people … so I know all about the line of the ball, but I’ve known about the line of the ball for many years, in a different context.” Later, during his introduction before the estimated crowd of 10,000, he deadpanned, “The closest I’ve got to smashing a ball on horseback was when I went riding without a cup. But the other one is beautiful.”

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