The Squid Game hype is not yet over–it’s still taking the world by storm and still on top of Netflix charts around the globe. And because of its record-breaking popularity, the actors that star in the hit Netflix Korean series now have even bigger fan bases, especially Jung Ho-yeon who plays North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok in the show.
The 27-year-old is now the most followed Korean actress on Instagram, besting the likes of K-drama queens Song Hye-kyo and Lee Sung-kyung. From around 400,000 followers, Ho-yeon immediately reached the million mark after the release of Squid Game on the streaming platform. As of writing, the actress now has 18.8 million followers–18.4 million more admirers just a month after the release of the series. (Read: LIST: These 5 Korean Stars Are Catholics!)
But who exactly is Ho-yeon, and why are people clicking the “follow” button on her Instagram profile? Here are some fun facts about the 27-year-old!
Squid Game is her first acting gig
Ho-yeon did an amazing job playing Sae-byeok in Squid Game, that no one would dare to think it was her TV series debut. But it actually is! The action-packed show is the actress’ first-ever series, as she previously only starred in music videos of different artists.
She was dubbed ‘Korea’s next top model’
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Before becoming an actress, Ho-yeon was a model. She started modelling at the age of 16, and even went on to major in modelling in university. She has appeared in Vogue Japan beauty, Vogue Korea, W Korea, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, and Vogue Thailand, and has had editorials in Vogue, British Vogue, Dazed, Love Magazine, CR Fashion Book, and Into the Gloss. She has been dubbed as “Korea’s Next Top Model” by Vogue. (Read: Relieve Your Stress With These 3 Korean Entertainment Shows)
She’s dating a co-actor
The breakout star, as she has been in the entertainment and fashion industry for so long, has met lots of known personalities throughout her career. And it’s where she met actor Lee Dong-hwi of Reply 1988, who eventually became her partner. They have been dating since 2015.
BLACKPINK’s Jennie is her close friend
The 27-year-old surely has a lot of celebrities on her contact list–and probably one of the biggest names on her phone is BLACKPINK’s Jennie. The model-turned-actress is actually good friends with the global K-pop superstar! They’re such close friends that Jennie even sent a coffee truck to the set of Squid Game to show her support for Ho-yeon! (Read: My Pope Asks: What Is The Korean Coffee Truck Culture?)