5 Things to Know About ‘Squid Game’ Star Jung Ho-yeon

Vogue once dubbed her Korea’s Next Top Model. In 2015 the publication described the Seoul native as a mix of models Hanne Gaby Odiele and Cara Delevingne. “Take Hanne Gaby Odiele’s flair for street style, add the goofy selfie antics of Cara Delevingne, and you have one of Seoul’s top modeling talents, a redheaded stunner who—we’re calling it now—will be the next Korean girl to make a splash stateside,” Monica Kim wrote for Vogue at the time. 

This title is only fitting, considering she actually participated in Korea’s Next Top Model back in 2013, coming in as runner-up. The 27-year-old has since walked runways for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prabal Gurung, and more. 

Jung Ho-yeon walks in Louis Vuitton’s fall 2017–winter 2018 show at Paris Fashion Week.


Squid Game is her first acting role. “Last January I moved to my current acting agency, and at that time I thought that they would train me to a certain extent before putting me to work,” she told W Korea, per NME. “However, by February, a group chat including our CEO was created, and he gave me the Squid Game script and told me to film and send in an audition video. I was in New York for New York Fashion Week at the time!”

Obviously, she got the part. “When my CEO told me I’d been casted, the first thing I said was, ‘Why?’” Jung said. “I was so happy when I heard the news, but it was like a greater fear had taken over me. [I was like] ‘Thank you very much, but I can do this?’”

She relates to Kang Sae-byeok. “More than anything, I think I was able to accept [the character] Sae-byeok without any big difficulties because I am similar to her,” she said in that same interview. “In 2016 I left Korea to further my modeling career overseas, and I spent a lot of time alone. At the time, the emotion that I felt the most was ‘loneliness’…. That feeling of loneliness while trying to persevere and live isn’t all that different.” 

She is now the most followed South Korean female actor on Instagram. As mentioned earlier, Jung’s following has jumped by millions since Squid Game dropped on Instagram. With 13 million followers and counting, she has officially surpassed Song Hye-kyo (Descendants of the Sun) and Lee Sung-kyung (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo), with follower counts of 12 million and 12.9 million, respectively. 

Speaking of Instagram, Jung is close friends with BlackPink singer and rapper Jennie. There are multiple photos of the pair hanging out on Instagram, including Jennie’s visit to the set of Squid Game.

While doing press for the series, Jung’s costar Lee Jung-jae shared that BlackPink: Light Up the Sky became one of his favorite Netflix films after Jennie visited their set with a coffee truck to support Jung. 

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