Far out Friday: From mortgage industry to movie star

A London broking business development manager went from losing his job at the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers to becoming a Malaysian movie/model/fighter star



One day he was fired from his job as a financial consultant at Preferred Mortgages after its parent company filed the biggest bankruptcy case in history, and the next he found himself a Malaysian pin-up boy on the cover of magazines.

Needless to say it’s been an interesting ride for Londoner Peter Davis, who now lives in Malaysia and enjoys his life as an actor/model/mixed martial arts fighter.

Davis’ story appeared on the MMA Fighting website, which chronicled his bizarre change of career.

He was a 26-year-old bachelor making a pretty penny as a broking business development manager with big ticket mortgages at a subsidiary of the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, when it all came crashing down.

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy to the tune of a whopping US$639 billion, which to this day is still the largest in US history, and Davis was out of a job.

With nothing better to do, he decided to tag along on a family holiday back to his mother’s homeland of Malaysia.

The trip was nearing its end, and Davis, unsure of what to do, asked an old friend for advice.

“He asked me, ‘well why don’t you try doing some modelling here’,” Davis said. “I usually dressed in what I could; I wasn’t into any sort of style. Not sharply dressed. I probably had bad hair, but I’ve always had bad hair.”

But he gave it a go anyway, and surprisingly it paid off: he suddenly found himself in the business of commercials for global brands like Sony and Nissan, and high fashionistas were giving him a call.

But the money still wasn’t regular enough for a solid income, so Davis occupied himself by teaching students his hobby - mixed martial arts – at a local dojo.

It was near there that he was approached by a man, a would-be director, who was insisting that Davis needed to be the lead part in his satirical comedy and musical, Sell-Out!

“He asked me, had I done any acting? Had I done any singing? Because it was a musical. I was like, ‘Really? A musical? Man, I can’t sing for s*** so we’re going to have some problems getting there’.”

But he somehow pulled it off, and the musical went on to premier at the 65th Venice International Film Festival where it won the young cinema award for alternative vision.

On his return to Malaysia and to keep himself busy, Davis headed back to the comforts of teaching and training at his Dojo gym when suddenly luck chased him down yet again.

Promotion officals from ONE FC, a growingly opulent mixed martial arts organisation from Singapore, came knocking on his door.

“ONE FC offered me a fight contract. I remember I had that in my hand, and I thought, right, well it’s kind of dangerous, but fighting for them might be good for me. It might increase my brand to have some more fights,” he said. “So I signed the contract and had the fight, and it turned out it was more popular than I expected.  Martial arts have been a bigger thing for me than the actual movie releases.”

Nowadays between fashion shoots, commercials and a fighting bouts Davis has hardly any time to “see the wood through the trees”. But, he said, if life hadn’t thrown him a curveball he’d be another white-collar financial adviser working in an office.

“I would have a job in England. I would probably have found a girlfriend by now – I mean, it’s been 10 years. I’d probably just be settling down, have a house. I’d try my best to do a lot better than that, but I wouldn’t have been enjoying myself as much as I am here.”


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