From Squid Game to Supernova: Hoyeon Jung is Vogue’s cover star in February

If there’s one word I would choose to describe Hoyeon, it’s yeol-shim. It illustrates the trait Koreans are most proud of. Work hard, put all your heart and soul into everything, until you feel like you might explode.

The next afternoon, we’re off to the Seagram Building, and Hoyeon, recharged from an early lunch at Locanda Verde, practices her presentation for the CFDA Award for Emerging American Designer of the Year. Leaning over a piece of loose leaf, she writes the correct pronunciation of each creator’s name in tiny, immaculate handwriting. “You know, in Hollywood the media never say my name, do they?” She said playfully. (Too often, they replace the soft “yuhn” with an awkward “yoon”.)

We arrive, circling the building for the right entry, and Hoyeon hugs my shoulders, chanting my name, “Mon-i-ca”, in three singing syllables, without the pitch of a newly created celebrity. “Ho-yeon-ah,” I reply. If she’s nervous, she doesn’t show it. She walks into the room, in front of her two agents, and introduces herself to the event staff. The organizer explains his movements to him for this evening. “Do you want to browse the real thing?” She asks, expecting a polite refusal. But Hoyeon, diligent, asks to go through it once to make sure she gets it right.

“And the winner is…” she pauses for dramatic effect, then throws her hands in the air and shouts, “Hoyeon Jung! The hall bursts into laughter, the staff stopping with white orchids in their hands, and she leaves the podium with a triumphant smile.

There are three paparazzi waiting outside, standing shyly near the step and rehearsing. A man wearing a red supreme cap asks if he can take a photo, which Hoyeon’s agent politely refuses. Then he puts down his camera and pulls out his phone. “Could we be able to take a selfie?” He asks in Korean.

Hoyeon walks up with a smile and flashes the V sign, for the win.

We kiss one last time and we promise to see each other again soon. Hoyeon, a serious look on his face, says we’ll be going to his favorite place in Seoul, a hole in the wall where they douse freshly caught scallops with truffle oil. And unlike most people, whose words fly with the wind, I know she means it from the bottom of her burning heart.

In this story: hair, Holli Smith; makeup, Thomas de Kluyver for Gucci Beauty.

Directed by: Christine Yuan

Written by: Christine Yuan and Monica Kim

Director of Photography: Andrew Truong

Publisher: Chad Sarahina

Music: Ali Helnwein

Produced by: Intuition Films

Producer: Sydney Kim

Executive Producer: Marie Alyse Rodriguez, Edgar Rosa

Co-producer: Object + Animal

Production designer: Grace Nickow

Stylist: Jared Ellner

Hair: Jenny Cho

Make-up: Parc Nina

Manicure: Yoko Sakakura

Direction of movement: Erin Murray

Colorist: Dante Pasquinelli at Ethos Studio

VFX: Foreign Xchange

Sound designer: Christian Stropko

Supervising Producer, Vogue: Jordin Rocchi

Director, Creative Development, Vogue: Anna Page Nadin

Director, Creative Development, Vogue: Alexandra Gurvitch

Senior Director, Production Management, Vogue: Jessica Schier

Production coordinator, Vogue: Kit Fogarty

Production manager, Vogue: Emma Gil

Post-production supervisor, Vogue: Marco Glinbizzi

Global Entertainment Director, Vogue: Sergio Kletnoy

Creative Editorial Director, Vogue: Mark Guiducci

Vice-President, Digital Video Programming and Development, Vogue: Joe Pickard

Senior Director, Digital Video, Vogue: Tara Homeri

Content Director, Vogue: Rahel Gebreyes

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