When Les Roches alumnus Peter Meyer’s father passed away, he felt lost. After dipping his toe into the world of acting, he soon found himself swapping hospitality for Hollywood. Now he is releasing his first book, The Boy from the Wild, documenting his youth spent in a South African reserve, as well as his Les Roches experiences.
“I literally grew up in the wild,” explains Peter. “My dad had spent a lot of time in South Africa as a boy, and while there had fallen in love with an area the Zulus called ‘the Valley of Heaven’. He vowed one day he would buy it, and thirty years later, he did.” As Peter grew up there, the reserve became home to a luxury villa, a Jurassic Park-style adventure park, and a luxury hotel and conference center. “I grew up in this environment, where wild animals were all part of it. I grew up in a world of hotels and hospitality.”
When it came to going to university, Peter chose to attend Les Roches. It was a move that paid off – soon Peter was rising up the ranks of leading hotel chain Hilton, becoming one of their youngest directors. A glittering hospitality career in diverse areas such as Saudi Arabia, Jamaica and Dubai soon followed. “At Les Roches, you learn to get on and interact with people from different countries,” Peter says. “I had a lot of fun there, both recreationally and from the activities the university provided.”
It was in Dubai where Peter received the news that his father was terminally ill. “He told me he only had a few months to live, so I packed up pretty quickly and returned to the UK.” Peter stayed on for six months after his father’s passing to support his mother, before securing an amazing position in Malaysia. “I was a Company Director, looking after the sales and marketing for 24 hotels,” Peter explains. He had the job of a lifetime, but something wasn’t right. “Mentally, I was in a terrible place.” Soon he found himself back in the UK, pondering his next move.
[quote]At Les Roches, you learn to get on and interact with people from different countries,” Peter says. “I had a lot of fun there, both recreationally and from the activities the university provided.[/quote]
“When I was 16, I had dabbled in acting and modelling, so I thought I might as well try it for a bit while I looked for a new job,” Peter says. This led to a commercial with Ford and a recommendation from its impressed director. “I then got invited to take on a small role in an independent British film. This is where things changed. I kept getting more calls.” Soon, he found himself chewing the scenery with the likes of Brad Pitt (Allied), Liam Neeson (The Commuter) and Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: The Last Knight). “When I was on set, it was a weird moment – something ignited in me. I found it easy to be in front of the camera. I realized that if I was onset chatting with Brad Pitt, then I must be doing something right.”
The acting was the start of Peter’s “healing” after the passing of his father, and gave him “something to focus on.” This healing has continued with his book, The Boy from the Wild, a story highlighting his South African upbringing, his time at Les Roches, his new career and his rock-solid relationship with his dad. “It’s designed as a tribute to my father, to give him a legacy,” Peter says. “It’s an inspiring book that will hopefully make people stop and think ‘why not?’”
The Boy from the Wild dedicates a chapter to Peter’s time at Les Roches. What does he feel is the important lesson he learnt from his time with the school? “At Les Roches, you’re hid away in the mountains, and there’s that initial fear of how you’re going to survive there,” he says. “For me, the biggest lesson I learnt was the way of life, and the experiences you get from being there. The life lessons I have taken from Les Roches have been just as valuable as the academic ones.”