How Hoyeon Jung Went From Supermodel to Netflix Star

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| LAST UPDATE 10/10/2021

By Joyce Ballard
Hoyeon Jung Squid Game
Han Myung-Gu / Contributor via Getty Images

Yes, we're just as obsessed with Squid Game's Hoyeon Jung as everyone else is. Since her practically overnight rise to global stardom, the 27-year-old has become a Louis Vuitton ambassador and an Adidas campaign star. But she's no stranger to modeling: Jung hit the runway long before her on-screen debut.

Hoyeon Jung modeling, runway
Peter White / Contributor via Getty Images

Hoyeon has spent much of her adolescent and young adult life navigating the fashion industry. And it was this passion that led her to act. "When I'd travel by myself on airplanes and stay at hotels [while modeling], I spent most of my days just watching movies," she told Vogue during a recent interview. "[Afterward] I thought more and more about myself and my position in humanity at large. Who was I? What does it mean to be human? The answer to those questions was what brought me to acting."

Hoyeon Jung Interview, Endorsements
Peter White / Contributor via Getty Images

And believe it or not, Squid Game was her first audition, hence why she didn't expect to get the gig. "I was just so happy that I got a role and could give a performance," Jung admitted. "I still feel nervous at the thought of meeting an audience through the screen. I never dreamed that the show would become such a global sensation." So how did the starlet prepare for this acting debut? Hoyeon wrote a diary of sorts for Sea-byeok.

Squid Game cast, interviews
Instagram via @netflixkr

In doing so, she discovered similarities between the character and herself at the early stages of her modeling career. "[In some ways] her life was very similar to my life abroad," Jung detailed. "During those times, it was difficult to share my emotions [and] celebrate with family and friends when something good happened or figure out what to do when something bad occurred... Hence, I could understand her loneliness and how she empowered herself."

Hoyeon Jung filmography, career
Instagram via @hoooooyeony

So modeling certainly helped Jung prepare for what turned out to be her breakout role. But in other ways, coming off the runway and onto set had its cons. "At first, I tried to get rid of habits that you would develop as a model, and it was a great challenge to relearn how to walk and move more naturally," she explained.

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And if you're wondering whether the model-turned-actress is as enamored with the pick-pocketing young woman she portrays on-screen as we are, the answer is a strong yes. "As time went on, I felt that Sae-Byeok and I were becoming closer. I found joy in our synergy. The time I spent playing her was worth every second," Jung shared. We're not crying; you're crying.

Haven't binged Squid Game yet? Consider this a sign from the universe to do it ASAP.