Hoyeon Jung became the breakout star of the famous Netflix show, Squid Games. She also appears on the February issue of Vogue, becoming the first Asian to be solo featured on a Vogue cover. Her appearance on the cover comes to no surprise though. She began her career as a model where she worked in New York until she started working on Squid Games. Those who watched the series might have known her as the ‘girl from Squid Games,’ but may not have even known her name. Her newfound success has been an adjustment stand she is learning how to navigate her new life. When speaking about her career goals, she revealed to Vogue, “I have always wanted to go to Hollywood and to act in America, and I still do. But ‘Squid Game’ changed my mindset. It doesn’t have to be an American movie or a European movie, it’s the story and the message that are more important.”
Her earlier success as a model started when she won first place in “Korea’s Next Top Model.” She shared that she got easily affected by people’s comments saying, “I searched my name every day, and I read all the comments, one by one. Even if eight people loved me and only two people hated me, I always cried, at home alone. Even now, I struggle with low self-esteem.” While spending many lonely days traveling as a model, she found her love for television and film. Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator and director of Squid Game, spent over three months making his cast for Squid Game. He said he “was hoping for someone fresh, with a different aura. I was searching for a kind of actor I had never seen before.” Within that week, Hoyeon had gotten the part.
After she finished her scenes for the show, she continues to go to more auditions, before the show actually launched on Netflix. She didn’t land most of the roles, but when Squid Game was finally released, everything changed. She started to think of her career lows much differently. She says, “Getting farther away from other people’s gaze let me find what I wanted again and gave me time to study it. What’s important in life is not when your career is up, but when your career is down and how you spend that time. That’s something I learned.” With 15 million Instagram followers, she has become the most followed ZSouth Korean actor on the social media platform, and people are taking note. Now, she is the global ambassador for Lous Vuitton, and her stardom only continues to rise.