South Korean actress-model Jung Ho-yeon has become the first Korean actress to be included on the TIME Magazine’s annual ‘TIME100 Next’ list.
On September 28, TIME unveiled the 2022 edition of its annual ‘TIME100 Next’ list of rising stars across the world, featuring 100 individuals across a multitude of sectors who the outlet believes will shape the future. These individuals range from musicians and medical professionals to movement leaders and top CEOs.
The Squid Game break-out star became the first Korean actress to appear on the list. Jung was selected under the ‘Phenoms’ category, dedicated to newcomers in their respective fields as ones to watch. TIME also published a statement from Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk supporting her inclusion on the list, in which he shared his selection process for the character of Kang Sae-byeok in the series and his experience collaborating with her on set.
“The first time I saw Ho-yeon was in a video, after I had spent three tiring months in search of an actress to play the role of Sae-byeok in Squid Game,” Hwang recalled, before adding that he “didn’t have high expectations” for Jung, considering she had no prior acting experience. “In less than 10 seconds, I found myself sitting upright, captivated by what was on the screen. Instantly, I knew she was going to be Sae-byeok.”
Although Hwang described her acting in her original audition clip as “somewhat unfamiliar and stiff compared with other seasoned actors”, he noted that Jung was not timid at all. “Nor did she want to hide the fact that she didn’t have any acting experience. She seemed to acknowledge and accept her weaknesses, and was committed to overcoming them,” he wrote.
“I often joke around and call her a ‘warrior’. There’s no doubt that she has the skill and courage to fight her numerous battles. And I hope her acting career can become a true resting area, not her battleground,” Hwang concluded.
Squid Game recently took home two historic wins at the 2022 Emmy Awards earlier this month. Lead actor Lee Jung-jae (who played Seong Gi-hun on the series) took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, marking the first time an Asian actor has done so.
Meanwhile, Hwang bagged the award Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, marking the first time a non-English language drama has been awarded in the category. Jung was also nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category.