‘Cobra Kai’ Star Peyton List Recalls Brother’s Heartbreaking College Essay

By the time Cobra Kai cast Peyton List as Tory, List was already a veteran actor. She’s still only 24. List started acting as a child and got some long term roles on Disney series Jessie and Bunk’d. Looking back, List felt conflicted over her family’s sacrifice for her career, especially her teenage brother’s. 

'Cobra Kai' star Peyton List looks to her left and smiles at the Critic's Choice Awards
Peyton List | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

List was a guest on Cobra Kai co-star Martin Kove’s podcast, Kicking It with the Koves on April 6. Discussing her acting career, List expressed gratitude and emotional turmoil over her brother’s sacrifice for her. Cobra Kai Season 5 is coming soon to Netflix. 

Peyton List moved to Hollywood when she was 12 

List got extra work at as young as 4. By the time she was 10, she was getting roles in 27 Dresses and Cashmere Mafia. So, when she was 12, List’s mother took her to Los Angeles, California. Her father and brothers stayed in New York. That’s when List got Jessie for Disney Channel.

RELATED: Peyton List: ‘Cobra Kai’ Birthday Party Kids ‘Were Giving Me a Hard Time’

“At first it was just my mom because she thought okay, we’ll film the pilot and then it might not even get picked up,” List said on Kicking It with the Koves. “But it just kept going and we ended up doing 32 episode seasons. So my mom ended up, I remember she would cry all the time. She would miss my brothers and my dad. I felt so guilty because she was helping me pursue this thing I wanted to do at 12.”

‘Cobra Kai’ star Peyton List has a twin brother 

List has a twin brother, Spencer, and a younger brother, Phoenix. When Spencer was applying to colleges, Peyton realized what a burden it was for him.

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’ Cast Member Xolo Maridueña Says Peyton List’s Karate Was ‘Pretty Trash’ at First

“My brothers and my dad ended up moving over here which was also a big thing,” List said. “My brother was just applying to colleges. He was 17 and he wrote his college essay Having to Move Across the Country for Your Sister’s Career. It made me want to cry because wow, this really changed his life. When you’re 12 years old, you’re not really aware of how you’re changing everyone’s life around you. It was really nice also that my dad has been so supportive of a young girl wanting to pursue that. I have so many friends whose parents are like, ‘Oh, you want to act?’”

Peyton List’s brother actually got discovered first 

List also shared the story of how she even started acting in New York. It was Spencer who got discovered, but her mother leveraged it for Peyton.

It started as an afterschool hobby because I have a twin brother and he got discovered on the Staten Island Ferry when we were kids. My mom took him in and she brought me along and said, ‘Well, my daughter is the one who kind of has more of an interest so you have to sign them both to the agency.’ So I ended up just auditioning after school and I got a lot of commercials and then shows and played the daughter to a lot of people, played younger versions of different blondes growing up in New York. Then I got a Disney show when I was 12 called Jessie and had to move to L.A. to come do that. I feel like that was my first. 

Peyton List, Kicking It with the Koves, 4/6/22

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’: How Season 3 Explained Why Peyton List’s Character Is so Angry