If we had to describe Peyton List in just a few words, we'd say that girl is killing it right now. The actress captured our hearts with her roles on Jessie and BUNK'D, and showed a completely different side of her acting abilities with her movies The Swap and The Thinning. When TWIST recently caught up with the star, and asked her to dish all about these roles, what it has been like growing up in the spotlight, and which friends she turns to for all the advice and guidance she needs along the way. Check out our exclusive Q & A below.
TWIST: Is there something you'd love to tell your childhood self about your career right now that she just wouldn't believe?
Peyton List: She wouldn't believe any of it. I feel like it would be so exciting to tell my childhood self you're going to be traveling, and doing what you've always wanted to do, living your dream. [I'd also say,] "Don't sweat the small stuff." I feel like if I could talk to my younger self, I'd tell her not to listen to the mean girls as much. Like, don't worry. I feel like people always try to put you down when you're trying to live your dream and trying to do what you love, but I'm always telling myself, don't listen to them. You'll still do great.
TWIST: Is that the same advice you'd tell some of your younger fans?
PL: Yeah, for sure. I feel like I meet a lot of young fans who live in smaller towns who are like, 'oh I can't do it because I don't live somewhere else'. But I feel like, especially nowadays, between YouTube and social media, there are so many ways to put yourself out there.
TWIST: Do you feel like your fans come to you for advice? Do you feel like you always have to be on your A-game on social media?
PL: Sometimes. If someone comes to me and asks me for advice, I feel like it's always such a brief interaction so I try to give them my 1-on-1 undivided attention. It's really nice that they trust me enough to want to talk to me about that. It feels like we're friends, because I feel like I know them [and] they're always so open with me. It's so nice to have that relationship. My fans are the best, they're the sweetest and most supportive people, I love them so much.
I've DMed fans in the past who were going through hard times or whatever it may be, and I'm in a program called Girls on the Run, and I've spent hours going to different schools, where it's easier to sit down and get to know each other. We always exchange advice, and by the time I leave I always feel like I have learned something, even though they're younger than me. Kids are so much smarter than everyone thinks. The fact that I have the power to help people or make anyone happy? Is unbelievable. I'm really lucky.
TWIST: Is there someone YOU look up to for advice?
PL: Actually, Miranda May, who works on BUNK'D with me. She's one of my best friends, and I can go to her with anything. I've never had any friend that I trusted THAT much with anything I had going on in my life, which is nice. And then I have my best friend Kaylyn who is in New York. My brother Spencer, and my mom too. I have a great group around me who I can talk to. I feel like you always have to have at least one person who you can talk to and who you know you can trust. It's so hard to find people who you can really let loose with and trust.
TWIST: Especially in the business...
PL: Yeah, it like a dog-eat world. People are constantly stabbing each other in the back, and I've really, luckily – knock on wood – I've not had too many experiences like that, but I know a lot of people who have.
TWIST: Your friend group seems to be more about building people up rather than competition.
PL: My friend Bailee [Madison]? She's like the sweetest, most supportive person ever. At first, when I met her, she was so nice and I was like, "Is this genuine? Is this real?" It's so genuine, it's so real. It's even like, I had a magazine cover come out recently and she's like, "I'm taking a picture with it!" And I was like YOU are the sweetest person EVER.
It takes a long time to get like that. The second you start comparing yourself to others, it just creates so much jealousy. Anytime I hear someone say something like, "Oh I wish I had that..." whatever feature it is, I'm like no, you can't do that. You have something about yourself that's great too.
TWIST: Is that something you've picked up along the way, or were you always like that?
PL: Definitely along the way. I feel like I was a pretty confident kid in elementary school, and then in middle school that's when it kind of went away. I feel like I had to re-learn it again, and to not care. It is such a childlike quality not to care what other people think and be honest. And I'm still learning, to be honest. I think if you remind yourself every day that your goals start today.
TWIST: Is it hard that those are the years were the exact time that you were on TV in the public's eye, or is the perfect time to start learning about yourself?
PL: I guess it's kind of both. You can look at it both ways. I feel like I'm more of the person who's kind of experimenting and finding who I am. I think some people have a really hard time with it, and they go down a wrong path because they're having such a hard time finding themselves in the light, and they're always paying attention to, 'this person is staring at me...' I don't know, I don't really have a problem with who I am.