Squid Game’s Jung Ho-yeon is first South Korean actress on Time’s 100 Next list

Photo: AFP

Squid Game's breakout star Jung Ho-yeon is the first South Korean actress to make it to Time magazine's Time 100 Next list.

The annual list was announced on Wednesday, profiling 100 next-generation leaders in various fields such as business, entertainment, sport, politics, health, science and activism.

They were featured in categories of Artists, Phenoms, Innovators, Leaders and Advocates, with Jung, 28, listed under Phenoms.

A top model before Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk cast her in her first acting role in the Emmy-winning 2021 Netflix series, which became a global hit, Jung is described by him as a "warrior" in the profile.

He revealed that he had spent three months trying to cast the role of Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector and pickpocket, without success until he saw her audition tape.

"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," he said.

"It was as though I was witnessing a newborn creature somewhere on earth taking on everything that the world throws at it, getting struck down but ultimately fighting back again to change things a little bit at a time," he added.

"I think Ho-yeon is still fighting every day – against her fame, the expectations and the jealousy of her success, as well as her own desires."

Jung is set to make her feature film debut in Joe Talbot's upcoming movie The Governesses, as well as appear in director Alfonso Cuaron's thriller series Disclaimer opposite Australian actress Cate Blanchett.

Other celebrities listed in the Phenoms category include American actress Sydney Sweeney, British actress Simone Ashley, American singer-songwriter Finneas and Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz.

Notably, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also appears on the list, in the Leaders category.

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