- In “Squid Game,” Jung Ho-yeon plays North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok.
- Korean-speaking viewers noticed that Sae-byeok tries to hide her North Korean accent in the game.
- Her true North Korean accent only comes out when speaking to her brother.
“Squid Game” actress Jung Ho-yeon has seen her career and her Instagram blow up since the release of Netflix’s South Korean survivalist drama phenomenon.
The former “Next Top Model” star has gone on to become the most followed South Korean actress on Instagram after surging from 400,00 followers to over 13 million followers in just three weeks.
series, Jung plays player number 67 Kang Sae-byeok, who participates in the brutal game to try and win money for her younger brother and her captured mother in China following their family’s unsuccessful attempt to defect from North Korea.
In her acting debut, Jung gives a great performance as a fan-favorite character — but Korean-speaking viewers have noticed an impressive detail about Jung’s performance that elevates her work to the next level.
Sae-byeok is from North Korea, so has a North Korean accent. As observed by Redditor soyfox and podcaster Youngmi Mayer, however, when she is around the other players, who are predominantly South Korean, she actively tries to hide her North Korean accent. Her real accent only comes out when we hear her speaking to her brother.
She most likely hides her North Korean accent around the South Korean players to avoid discrimination and negative comments, which tracks in the show as she is referred to as a “spy” and “communist” when some players notice she is North Korean.
—youngmi mayer (@ymmayer) September 30, 2021
While non-Korean speaking viewers will likely not pick up on this, it’s a neat detail that adds further depth and complexity to both the character of Sae-byeok and Jung’s performance.
In an interview with W Korea, Jung said that she learned how to put on a North Korean accent by watching “a lot of documentaries about North Korean defectors.” She also spent a lot of time practicing the accent with a teacher who helped her to prepare for the role as a North Korean defector.