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Jan 10

WHY I TRADED IN A HIGH-FLYING CAREER IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY TO PURSUE MY ACTING DREAMS, AND HOW I DID IT

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By Peter Meyer, author of The Boy from the Wild

Most of us dream about quitting the 9-5 (or is that the 8-7) rat race, but few ever do.  The author Peter Meyer is proof that following a dream can be more than just a daydream. He hung up his suit and left a highly-paid job in the hospitality industry to embark on a career as an actor – and was soon rubbing shoulders with Brad Pitt.

I grew up in the hospitality industry, quite literally. I was born and raised on a game reserve in South Africa that my father created. It had a safari park, a five-star hotel and a conference centre. It was once known as Safari World and its pioneering fusion of Disney-style theme park and nature reserve  made it akin to a real-world Jurassic Park

When I was older, I graduated from Les Roches Hospitality University in Switzerland and went on to work all around the world in places including the UK, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.  I worked in different director roles in sales, marketing and business development for groups like Hilton, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, JA Resorts & Hotels and then YTL Hotels.  At one point I was even one of Hilton’s youngest directors at 26 years old.  I had it all going for me – the experience, the qualifications, the connections, the lifestyle and so much more…. but then it all changed.

In 2014, I dropped everything to spend time with my father after hearing he had a very rare form of terminal cancer.  My father was my life and an incredibly special person, so I was going to be by his side.  After I lost him I lost a part of myself and realised that you are vulnerable – and that life is governed by time that we take for granted.  I tried to get back into hotels and got a huge position in Kuala Lumpur but was ultimately in a very bad mental state and lost my zest and desire for the industry.  I was missing my dad plain and simple.

By chance a short while later a family friend suggested that I try acting and modelling for fun, and at least until I’d planned my next move.  So, a short while later, I signed onto a website that was a portal for jobs in that industry.  Within the space of a few days I was contacted by a production company, which asked me to do a TV commercial for Ford.

I did the shoot and was told I was a “natural” and was advised to do more! Two weeks later I got a call from a director making an independent British film and I got a tiny part as a news anchor with some lines.  It was then that I realised how much I loved acting and it woke me up out of semi-depressed state for my father.  I decided to see where it went.

Suddenly I was getting acting and modelling roles and even got my first lead in a short film within three months of starting.  My biggest came when I got a call to audition for Allied with Brad Pitt and got the smallest part to sing.  Sadly, the role was cut but I was still an extra and got picked to be near Brad Pitt and enjoyed getting to know him. I then got chosen to work as an extra next to Liam Neeson this time on The Commuter.  He partly inspired my book “The Boy from the Wild”.  In less than 18 months all this had happened.  I was also doing a lot of plus size modelling and was Tesco’s first plus size male model wearing Jacamo.  But I have also modelled internationally with groups such as El Corte Ingles wearing Hugo Boss, GANT, Ralph Lauren and more.  Who knows what’s next?

I’ve gone from surviving animal attacks and snake bites on a safari park to surviving the concrete jungles of Hollywood.  How, people ask?  Well, get headshots, get a showreel, get an agent, brand yourself to get your followers and have passion.  If you are determined and do what you love then you will achieve.  Sometimes you have to risk it to get the biscuit. A dream is yours and yours to fail, so don’t let it.

The Boy from the Wild by Peter Meyer is out now, priced £9.99 in paperback and £3.99 as an eBook. It is available for sale on Amazon UK. Visit  www.petermeyer.com