Why Peyton List Had Doubts About Joining the Cobra Kai Cast

Peyton List

Getty Peyton List poses at The Paley Center for Media in 2019.

As fans of Cobra Kai are aware, the character Tory Nichols (Peyton List) was introduced during the show’s second season. The character serves as one of the show’s main antagonists, especially in the third season. She has a particular hatred for Daniel LaRusso’s daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) and will go to extreme measures to enact violence. While her behavior should not be excused, Tory is a complex individual. The teenager is poverty-stricken and works two jobs while taking care of her ailing mother and her younger brother.


List Questioned Why She Had Been Cast For the Role

Peyton List Blond

Getty Peyton List looks over her shoulder at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards.

Before being cast as Tory, List was best known for her role as Emma Ross on the Disney Channel show Jessie. While speaking to her former Glamorous cast mate Brooke Shields for Interview Magazine, the actress revealed that she doubted her abilities to play a convincing villain on Cobra Kai due to her Disney background. 

During the interview, List asked if Shields was “shocked” by her portrayal of Tory. 

“It doesn’t surprise me. Because first of all, you’re a wonderful actress. You’ve got range,” responded the actress. “People have gotten to know you in a certain type of role or maybe by Disney Channel, but I know that you’re a performer and you’re an actor, so I’m not surprised at that. I just love that they were willing to do that with you, so that you could show how kick-a** you are.”

List thanked Shields for her compliments before disclosing that she “felt the same exact way.”

“[W]hen I first was talking to the writers, I was like, ‘Why the h*** did you choose me?’” explained the actress. “And they said, ‘Well, we thought it’d be fun. We’ll take this Disney princess girl and we’ll have fun surprising people with what you can do.’ And so they were kind of in on the whole thing, which I didn’t realize until the wrap party for season two.”

Later in the interview, List revealed that she believes she suffers from “imposter syndrome” and is insecure with her abilities with every project she works on. She also noted that she had limited experience with martial arts and was unaware that she “was going to be fighting” during the audition process for Tory.

“I didn’t really prepare for that. I just went in and read the scenes and then I got there, and my opening scene was a fight in the karate dojo, so I had to train,” recalled the actress. “They gave me 45 minutes to learn that first fight sequence, and I had never fought before. I didn’t have any training, and so the first time I did it, I just remember feeling really silly. It was rough, but I did it. I committed. I remember feeling embarrassed, but then it all worked out.”


List’s Co-Star Martin Kove Also Doubted Her Abilities

Martin Kove

GettyMartin Kove strikes a pose at TCL Chinese Theatre.

During a March interview with PopSugar, List revealed that her co-star Martin Kove was also uncertain about her joining the cast. The actor confided that he initially felt she did not have enough martial arts training to be on the show but was impressed with how she has progressed since being cast. 

“He said, ‘When I saw you in season two the first time, I was talking to [William “Billy” Zabka who plays Johnny Lawrence] in the corner going, ‘Why did they hire this girl?’ Like, ‘Thanks, Marty,’” stated the 23-year-old.

To see more of List, be sure to check out Cobra Kai, available on Netflix. 

READ NEXT: Why Ralph Macchio Used To Say Daniel LaRusso Would Have Gone To Prison


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