Jung Ho-yeon's has become a household name due to Squid Game
Here's Why Squid Game Star HoYeon Jung Is 1 To Watch

She's rocketed to fame.

by Ani Bundel
Alexi J. Rosenfeld/WireImage/Getty Images

When the K-drama Squid Game landed on Netflix on Sept. 17, 2021, it arrived with little fanfare and almost zero marketing in the United States. But the audience immediately picked up, and only 10 days after launch, Netflix was trumpeting the numbers, saying it could be the service’s biggest show to date. By the end of October, it had beaten every show Netflix ever streamed and sent its cast into household names, from O Yeong-su to HoYeon Jung. And these facts about the latter, HoYeon Jung, are proof of how miraculous her Squid Game rise has been.

HoYeon Jung (or Jung HoYeon in Korean) played Kang Sae-byeok in Squid Game’s first season. Her character was a North Korean defector who hoped to reunite her family and buy a house for them with the prize money from the contest.

Unfortunately, her character won’t be back for Season 2, as she did not survive the first season. Her demise was one of the show’s big twists toward the end of the season, as she was taken out by Sang-woo the night before the finale game.

But that doesn’t mean HoYeon Jung is about to fade into obscurity. Here are a few facts to know about her budding career:


HoYeon Jung Was A Finalist On Korea's Next Top Model

HoYeon Jung started her modeling career in 2010 at 16, before landing a spot on Korea's Next Top Model three years later. She didn’t take top prize (Season 4 was won by Shin Hyun-ji), but she was one of the final three, giving her maximum television exposure.


She’s Louis Vuitton's Global House Ambassador

After her success on Korea’s Next Top Model, HoYeon Jung signed with The Society Management agency, which moved her to the United States. She became a fixture on the runways of New York Fashion Week, eventually moving up to Global House Ambassador for Louis Vuitton.


Squid Game Was Her First TV Role


It might be hard to believe this, but up until 2021, HoYeon Jung was strictly a runway model. It wasn’t until late 2020 that she signed with an agency to go out for acting roles. Squid Game was the first show she landed, and her TV acting debut.


She’s South Korea’s Most-Followed Woman Actor On IG

HoYeon Jung’s fame hit so fast, it took her from regular-model levels of fame into the stratosphere. Squid Game arrived in September 2021; by the end of October, she had become South Korea’s most-followed woman actor on Instagram, going from 400,000 followers to 13 million in a matter of weeks.


She Has 2 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations

Although it’s her first acting role, Squid Game has been a breakout for HoYeon Jung. Not only did it land her a contract with the powerful Hollywood CAA casting agency, but she’s also been nominated for two Screen Actors Guild awards. Her nominations are for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, both for her work in Squid Game.

Squid Game Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.