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'Squid Game' Star Jung Ho Yeon Reveals What Really Led Her To Try Acting

Before the series, she was best known for appearing in Korea's Next Top Model!
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PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) NETFLIX/SQUID GAME, INSTAGRAM/hoooooyeony
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Having become the most followed Korean actress on Instagram, there's no denying Jung Ho Yeon is one of the rising talents in the industry to watch—and with just one acting credit, no less! That said, the 27-year-old didn't always have lady luck on her side. 

In a recent guesting for the Korean variety show Yoo Quiz On The Block, Ho Yeon revealed why she only recently transitioned to acting despite it being her actual dream. 

ICYDK, before her Squid Game fame, Ho Yeon was a world renowned model, best known for appearing in Korea’s Next Top Model and turning heads overseas with her fiery, red locks on the runways of fashion bigwig's like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Chanel. She was even named by Models.com as one of the Top 50 models in the world in 2018.

jung ho yeon interview
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/HOOOOOYEONY
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Regrettably, her upward trajectory in the modeling world eventually hit a snag when COVID-19 devastated the globe. "There were a lot of ups and downs within me. My career was rising overseas, but then I started to lose jobs one by one," she recounted. As more of her booked runway shows got cancelled, Ho Yeon explained she found herself "slowly drifting apart" from modeling. 

While unfortunate, this low-point in her career finally gave her the push she needed to pursue her original dream. "That was the moment I decided, 'I have to officially try acting,'" said Ho Yeon. She also explained that her interest in the craft only grew while she was building herself up as a model. "Models have a lot of alone time. What you can do in that time is read or watch movies. From a certain point on, those became my hobbies. I thought that it'd be good if I could also try out these expressions, and I think escaping reality became my motivation."

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PHOTO BY Netflix/Squid Game

By 2020, Ho Yeon had successfully signed on to her current talent agency Saram Entertainment. and the rest, as you know, is history. 

Then again, if you're an avid fan of Ho Yeo's modeling work, don't worry, because she's not completely trading in the runway for the TV screen anytime soon. Though she's still set on eagerly exploring more acting opportunities, Vogue recently wrote that the actress "isn't quitting her fashion day job just yet." In an exlusive interview with the magazine, Ho Yeon expressed, "The people I work with and the experiences are what's most important. I just love to work, even if it's something I've already done."

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jung ho yeon interview
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/HOOOOOYEONY

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