The actress was a child star prior to her big break. In fact, her first film role was in the 2008 romantic comedy 27 Dresses, in which she played the younger version of Katherine Heigl’s character, Jane. She then moved on to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise before landing her role as Emma Ross on Jessie.
Peyton starred as Emma on the show from 2011 to 2015 and later reprised her part on the spinoff, Bunk’d. She confirmed in August 2018 that she was leaving the series.
“Not quitting. I’ve aged out of children’s shows,” she replied to a fan via Instagram at the time. “I love all of those people so much from the show they are and always will be my family. Everyone grows up and starts new projects. Grateful for everyone who has grown up with me and will continue to.”
Peyton reflected on her time as a Disney Channel star as she prepared to say goodbye to Bunk’d.
“It’s interesting. It’s fun that I grew up with other people who were kind of in the same situation on the show, like on Jessie. I was 12 years old when I first auditioned and I loved Disney. That was my dream to be on a Disney show,” she said on People Now in September 2018. “So it was weird to suddenly [be] getting stopped by kids my own age and getting recognized by people. I would go to Six Flags or Disney or wherever and all of a sudden, I wasn’t just normal. I had people my own age [that looked] up to me and it was kind of weird, kind of an adjustment.”
Peyton began taking on more mature projects, with 2016’s The Thinning, 2018’s The Thinning: New World Order and 2018’s Light as a Feather. She has starred on the Netflix series Cobra Kai since 2019. However, she still gets compared to other former Disney stars.
“I just feel like you and I, we’re not trying to hide an insane life from the public,” she told Bailee Madison during a January 2019 episode of the Wizards of Waverly Place alum’s podcast. “It doesn’t feel like that much pressure to me, but I have people that come up to me when I’m traveling in small towns. They’re like, ‘Don’t turn out like that Britney Spears or that Miley Cyrus.’”
Scroll through the gallery below to see Peyton’s transformation through the years!
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