HoYeon Jung was born June 23, 1994 and is a South Korean model and actress.
She was born in Myeonmok-dong, Seoul, South Korea, and has two sisters. Her parents are restaurateurs.
She graduated from Dongduk Women’s University College of Performing Arts, where she majored in modeling.
She began her career as a freelance model in 2010, walking in Seoul Fashion Week shows for two years. In 2013, she competed on the fourth season of Korea’s Next Top Model and placed as a runner-up.
She signed with ESteem Models in 2012. She appeared in the music video for Kim Yeon-woo’s song “Move” in 2014. She was also featured in spreads for the Korean editions of magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and W before signing with The Society Management and leaving South Korea in 2016 to pursue a career overseas. She also signed to Elite Model Management and Nomad Management. Before moving to New York, Jung inadvertently dyed her hair a “fiery” red color, which became her signature look.
After her booking to walk as an exclusive for Alexander Wang was canceled, she made her international runway debut in September 2016 at Opening Ceremony’s S/S 2017 show at New York Fashion Week. Shortly after, she walked in shows for Marc Jacobs, Alberta Ferretti, Chanel, Max Mara, and Fendi; appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Love, and W; and was featured in campaigns for Sephora and Gap. Also in 2016, she made her Paris Fashion Week runway debut as an exclusive model for Louis Vuitton at their S/S 2017 show, selected by Nicolas Ghesquière and casting director Ashley Brokaw.
Jung has walked in runways for Burberry, Miu Miu, Jason Wu, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, Bottega Veneta, Emilio Pucci, Prabal Gurung, Jacquemus, Gabriela Hearst, Moschino, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Jeremy Scott, Tory Burch, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Acne Studios, Brandon Maxwell, Gucci, Lanvin, and Zuhair Murad. She has also appeared in advertisements for Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, and Bottega Veneta, and on the covers of Vogue Korea, Vogue Japan, CR Fashion Book, and Harper’s Bazaar Korea.
Jung appeared in a promotional video for Pharrell and Chanel’s collaborative capsule collection in March 2019. In October 2021, she was named Louis Vuitton’s Global House Ambassador for fashion, watches, and jewelry. That same month, she partnered with Adidas Originals for their Adicolor campaign. She was featured on the cover of the February 2022 issue of Vogue, making her the magazine’s first solo Korean cover star. In 2022, she became one of the faces of N°1 de Chanel.
Jung decided to start her career in acting because of the short life span of model careers, which she felt as her work in modeling began to decrease. While modeling overseas, Jung periodically returned to South Korea during holidays to take acting lessons, and took three months’ worth of acting lessons altogether. She also improved her English in order to help her learn acting. In January 2020, Jung was signed to Korean talent agency Saram Entertainment. She made her acting debut in the 2021 Netflix K-drama Squid Game in which she played Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector and pickpocket who needs money to support her younger brother and track down her mother in North Korea. One month after signing with Saram, she was given three scenes from the show’s script, and auditioned for the role via video while in New York for Fashion Week. She was then asked by director Hwang Dong-hyuk to audition again in person in South Korea, where she was given the part immediately.
She studied for the role of Sae-byeok by practicing her character’s Hamgyŏng dialect with real North Korean defectors, watching documentaries about North Korean defectors, and learning martial arts. She also drew upon her own feelings of loneliness while modeling overseas to build the character, and wrote a daily diary from her character’s perspective. Sae-byeok became a fan favorite, and Jung was called Squid Game‘s breakout star by critics. For her performance on the show, Jung won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards. This nomination made her the second actress of Asian as well as Korean descent to receive an individual SAG Award nomination. Her win, along with costar Lee Jung-jae winning the respective male award, made history for the show becoming the first non-English language television series to win at the SAG Awards. In November 2021, she signed a contract with Creative Artists Agency, an American talent agency.
Jung was featured in The Weeknd’s music video “Out of Time” in 2022. She is set to make her feature film debut with the A24 film The Governesses, directed by Joe Talbot. Jung will also appear in Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller series Disclaimer opposite Cate Blanchett.