Squid Game Star Jung Ho-yeon: Everything to Know About the Model Turned Actress
How Jung went from Korea's Next Top Model to starring in the hugely popular Netflix Korean original series Squid Game
By now, you've binged or at least heard of Squid Game. The Netflix thriller stars Jung Ho-yeon as North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok, and the series is on track to become the most-watched show in Netflix history.
Jung's character is introduced as a skilled pickpocket who joins the games to earn money to support her younger brother and reunite them with their mother, who is in North Korea.
As the series has become more popular, so has Jung, who is now the most-followed South Korean actress on Instagram, according to NME, with 13 million fans.
Read on to learn everything about the 27-year-old breakout actress, from her Top Model beginnings to how she fell into acting, who she's dating and more.
She competed on Korea's Next Top Model in 2013.
Jung started modeling at 16 years old, and joined season 4 of Korea's Next Top Model in 2013. She was eliminated by episode two and brought back by episode five to become one of the runner-ups of the competition, according to W Magazine.
After her success on Top Model, Jung became booked and busy, appearing in several top fashion magazines and hitting the runway for labels such as Opening Ceremony and Louis Vuitton. She also dyed her hair red, which became her signature.
Even off duty, Jung commands the camera with her impeccable style. She often has her photo taken before and after Fashion Week shows. Fans also flocked to watch Jung reveal her beauty secrets on Vogue, in a video that has more than 10 million views.
She added, "Since he's also an actor, he's a good senior, a good friend, and a good person. He cheers me on a lot, and he worries for me as well. He's sort of like a dad."
Close friend and Kpop star Jennie not only sent a coffee truck to the set of Squid Game to support Jung, but she also paid a visit and snapped a really cute photo on set.
Landing her role on Squid Game gave her a lot of anxiety.
In her interview with Herald POP, Jung shared that she was asked to send an audition tape for the role of Kang Sae-byeok less than one month after signing with her agency. She was in New York for Fashion Week when she sent the tape off and then was told to quickly fly to Korea for an in-person audition. After landing the role, she said she felt like she "had gotten herself into trouble and felt a rush of pressure and fear."
Her anxiety and nerves continued onto set, until she decided to open up to director Hwang Dong-hyuk about how she felt. She told the outlet, "I think I wanted to feel certain about why he chose me. Then the director said to me, 'I picked you because you're already perfect as Sae Byeok.' That one phrase made me think that even if I'm not that great at acting, it would be problematic if I'm not able to do what I normally can do because of my nervousness and uneasiness, and I was able to overcome it. I also spoke to my seniors a lot while filming. From a certain point on, I didn't feel uneasy, and I could focus and do my best."
She's ready to work hard on her acting career.
When asked by Herald POP of her acting goals, Jung said, "I don't have any goals as an actress. I want to improve every day and maintain a steady pace without ever losing my resolve to work hard. I may waver a lot, but I'll work really hard and keep going."