Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung and 4 other breakout Korean actresses of 2021

From Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung to Jo Yi-hyun from Netflix’s Hosptial Playlist, here are five of the most talked-about rising talents in K entertainment this year

With global streaming services like Netflix bringing access to South Korean drama to the world, the country’s young talents are also gaining international fame. We take a look at five breakout actresses that made headlines around the world in 2021.

HoYeon Jung

Photo: Louis Vuitton

No arguing Jung is the breakout star of 2021. The model turned actress experienced literal overnight international fame thanks to Netflix’s all-time top hit Squid Game. She’s since been named ambassador of Louis Vuitton. Fans can expect to see more of her in the coming year.

Also see: Song Hye-kyo’s 5 iconic performances before Now, We Are Breaking Up

Kim Hye-jun

The Netflix series Inspector Koo, which featured the comeback of all-time K-drama queen Lee Young-ae, garnered much attention. Kim Hye-jun, the actress who plays a serial killer in the show, also caught the eyes of fans. Though she’s already been spotted in many other series, Inspector Koo showcased her acting chops and really pushed her into the spotlight.

She made her debut in a web drama about the budding relationship Lily Fever and was in various popular K-drama including Dr Romantic, Matrimonial Chaos, and Kingdom – yes, she is the queen from Kingdom! She was already in many endorsements, including Korean cosmetic brands of Too Cool For School and Innisfree. Can you see her bright future as a K-drama queen is coming? 

Lee Ho-jung

Just before Squid Game and My Name topped the Netflix charts, K-drama Nevertheless made a huge splash. The show starred Han So-hee and Song Kang in lead roles. Lee began modelling at age 16 and went on to debut as an actress in the movie Midnight Runners before taking on the role in Nevertheless

Just three days before the very last episode of Nevertheless, the movie Hostage: Missing Celebrity aired, and she had another memorable role in there. The model-turned-actress also starred in several music videos, including Zico’s I Am You, You Are Me.

Jo Yi-hyun

If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Hospital Playlist, you might remember the cute twins Jang Yun-Bok and Jang Hong-Do. Jo Yi-hyun, who starred as Yun-Bok, made her debut in 2017 in the web series Sweet Revenge

And in just four short years, she proved herself as an actress, starring various genres, including the legal drama Witch at Court, the historical drama My Country: The New Age, and the thriller movie Metamorphosis. Fun fact: Jo is a good friend of South Korean professional footballer Jeong Woo-yeong.

Jung Da-eun

The film Aloner marked a major milestone for Jung Da-eun marked it as her milestone. The movie topped charts in South Korea and displayed her talents on the silver screen. In the film Second Life, Jung Dae-eun earned her a nomination for Best New Actress at 56th Grand Bell Awards

Also see: Vincenzo’s Jeon Yeo-bin and Nana to star in new Netflix Korean comedy-thriller Glitch

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