Model-Turned-Actress Jung Ho Yeon Makes Stellar Acting Debut in “Squid Game”

South Korean thriller Squid Game is quickly ascending to one of Netflix’s most popular TV shows and earning praises from critics. Among the cast, 27-years-old model Jung Ho Yeon is making headlines for her acting debut as Sae Byeok, a charismatic and driven woman from North Korea.

The thriller drama revolves around a mysterious survival game where financially-strapped contestants play children’s games to win the grand prize of 45.6 billion South Korean Won. However, the contestants soon discover that the games are more sinister than they appear as losing will cost the contestants their life.

Born in 1994, Jung Ho Yeon started her modeling career after winning runner-up in 2013’s Korea’s Next Top Model. As a rising model, Jung Ho Yeon stepped into the international stage and modelled for major fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris. 

Having her eyes set on acting, Jung Ho Yeon used all her free time to study Squid Game’s script while she was concurrently preparing for her fashion week activities in New York. Jung Ho Yeon’s hard work was able to impress director Hwang Dong Hyuk who confessed to struggling to find the perfect actress for the character. Recalling their first meeting, Hwang Dong Hyuk revealed, “Her glares, her appearance and her voice were everything that I was looking for.”

Giving up on fashion week to film in South Korea, the model-actress has since been climbing in popularity and  fans are interested to know more about her personal life. It has been revealed that Jung Ho Yeon has been dating 36-year-old actor Lee Dong Hwi since 2015. Despite their 9 years age gap, the couple publicly confirmed their relationship in 2016 and continued to support each other. As Jung Ho Yeon and Lee Dong Hwi both have a growing acting career, fans are looking forward to the couple appearing on screen together.

Source: Korea Star Daily

This article is written by Sammi for

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  1. This drama is definitely very popular online but I have read a number of bad reviews too… If anyone have watched this. Please share your feedback.

    1. It’s not a bad watch. I hinge through all 8eps in 1 go. Went to sleep and watch ep9 as it’s more a conclusion so I wasn’t pressed to finished it. Overall, it’s pretty good. I would say it shows the struggles of people with crappy life, bad debt, no way out, and in a sense, sold their souls to the devils to win the game, but there are other people who’s trying to win the game without killing people, but when you are put into your life or others, ultimately, you will do what best for you. So you might win the game, but it put you into a turmoils, and it’s nice to watch them play the game as they struggled with their own morals. It’s certainly enjoyable enough, I have no complaints really, and it’s only 9eps long. Ep9 is almost a you can live without watching it, to me, it’s the weakest episode and serve no real purpose but a possible second season.

      Also there’s articles on how this one is a copycat of a Japanese one (which I’m going to find where to watch lol), and apparently that one is way way better

      1. It’s like a mix of alice in borderland, kamisama no iutori (especially the kids game) and liar game manga.
        Alice and kamisama have live action version, alice on netflix and kamisama is stand alone film

      2. @LittleFish The Japanese are really good at producing such genre… But you are correct 9eps is definitely worth me using to watch this popular drama… Unlike the CDramas with their over 20+ or 40+..

    2. show reminds me a lot of alice in wonderland when i watched the trailer but alice was better b/c it was very more fast pace and the games are deadlier although many people died in this show’s games too. storyline i would say somewhat predictable esp when it revealed the cop’s brother and the protagonist’s best friend while alice had more twist and surprises. but this show is good too if you enjoy watching escape room like shows. it fills the void while waiting for the next season of alice.

      1. @m0m0 Thank you for taking time to share your feedback too. It really helps me to mentally prepare for the story development.

    3. @windy I guess if one is open to such gerne, then their mind may be open to this drama… I can see how some bad reviewers are finding it hard to follow this storyline…They are just not use to Korea producing such genre… But the Japanese are the best at it..

  2. I thought the show was straight foward and easy to understand. I don’t know why many people think it’s confusing haha. I would say a 7/10. Still worth a watch!

  3. Just finished it. Lee Jung Jae really looks like Shaun Tam so HK version will know who to cast if they remake this.

    Honestly, I absolutely enjoyed this series. Acting’s great, even if a-typical Korean style, the games seem innocent but became very very deadly and tense. Entire show not many show any humanity or empathy at all. Some have it from the get go, some earned it, some lost it along the way. It’s an ugly depiction of human conscience, and the last episode when the final boss is revealed which I didn’t guess right at all, the entire series about games is indeed just a game to these cruel psycho people. No wonder our hero gets very angry and probably we may see more in S2. I had no idea about the guest stars so they were a nice surprise.I read about the plagarism, could be true but if any it is similar genre to many J dramas and movies of similar kind, except more grounded in terms of no fantastical reason or audience, just ordinary human beings. I absolutely enjoyed Battle Royale and Alice In Borderland but as tense as Squid Game was, it wasn’t as sophisticated as Alice in Borderland which was very well filmed. BUT the story in Squid Game, which takes 9 episodes to explore, explain and discover is more rewarding. There is a conclusion, there is an explanation, maybe not 100% which is why a sequel or a prequel will be filmed but Lee Jungjae’s story basically does have an end so that’s good to watch. Deaths are brutal but not an ode to fascination to violence. It’s not pretty deaths but doesn’t glorify it, that’s what I mean. Entire series, you will find possibly 3 deaths that will rocked you to your core, 1 especially when you see how he ended up dying and possibly 1 more that will make you scream profanity at that person. There’s a side story about a detective looking for his brother but that one was seriously predictable even if the ending had me scratching my head as to the question why, why?? That sort. The sets are gorgeous, looks like a well invested film but the foreigners in here are typically bad actors, badly portrayed,minimally written. This series would have made more sense if it was some dystopian world but the fact that the world is usual, like you and I know and that this happen is I suppose makes it all the more sickening. Hunger Games seem like child’s play compared to this one.
    There are criticisms from me. For one, I mean practically you see so many beds for our contestants BUT no toilets in the huge hall? None allowed to change or shower or brush teeth or even eat breakfast before any game. Basically it’s like a huge prison setting. No buffet. Some rules are so unfair, and if you think 5 can gang up and part with the winning prize, you guessed wrong. For a place with so much security and video cameras, interestingly, not one put a camera in the toilets where a lot of shenenigans go on, like sex (just once, by 2 of the most undesirable ugly characters in this series and I mean their characters as in personality), they can bring lighters and use it under the very nose of our guards, smuggle in knives or whatever. Felt so careless. All datas are in printed form, in files, when I expect a computer terminal with servers. Some things like the games are so old school. Frankly I wish they spend more time explaining rules of the games familiar to Korean audience but not to me. I still don’t get the Squid game rules except it felt like a gladiator fight. We know nothing about the guards but security is so tight, they can somehow smuggle still breathing severely wounded participants and harvest their organs. I suppose that is somewhat explained as well but the idea that everything runs like a prison seem to allow so much leeway for some that doesn’t make sense. But seriously, I just can’t accept that they build so many stuff, stacks of beds but NO BATHROOM in the hall. All the contestants have very strong bladder and possibly couldn’t smell right because since they sweat, with blood and all, and no change, no shower, they must have smell by day 2.

    Good to know too someone with nothing suddenly having 45 billion won (which is a lot of money) in their special bank account is not investigated by Korea’s overzealous tax agencies. Now that is really weird. The subtitles flashed too fast but you can watch the English dubbed version, which is very well dubbed actually. I decided to stick with the original because years of watching older Kdramas have trained my eyes to be able to read super fast.

    Other than that, seriously, put away all these practicalities, series is great. Really enjoyed it. At least it is not another serial killer series or murder series or super chaebol fighting super chaebol or love story where everything is so predictable. I notice whilst Squid Game is no. 1 on Malaysia’s top 10 list, suddenly Alice in Borderland is back in top 10 list too. That is great!

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