Korean Stars Who Have Landed And Graced The Vogue US Covers

Korean Stars Who Have Landed And Graced The Vogue US Covers


There are only two who were given this honor—so far.

Related: Vogue Philippines Is Coming

Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” 2020 historical win as the first Korean-produced content to bag a 4-peat win including the highly coveted Best Picture accolade. Boy-group phenomenon BTS’ reign as the biggest recording act and their massive global fanbase. The continuous rise in popularity of all things K-wave internationally—from K-dramas, K-fashion, K-beauty to K-pop. The proliferation of South Korean ambassadors for high fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Dior and Gucci. These are just some of the prime examples we can bank on when we say that South Koreans have been on the rise and they’re still well on their way to their zenith. 

Another example that’s clear proof of their world domination? Koreans gracing the covers of renowned international publications such as Vogue US. While we can count in only one hand those who’ve been given the honor—we’re pretty confident that we’ll be needing more sets of hands to use in the future.

Here are the 2 Korean stars who’ve landed the glorious spot as a cover model for the illustrious high fashion American magazine, Vogue US. 

Hoyeon Jung (Vogue US February 2021)

The 2013 Korea’s Next Top Model runner-up skyrocketed her career after her portrayal of the brooding North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok in the hit Netflix series, Squid Game. Cementing further her success, she recently made history as the first solo Korean star to grace the highly coveted Vogue US cover for the February 2021 issue. 

In the breakout star’s interview with Monica Kim, she shared about the crest and fall of her career until the eventual comeback she’s now basking in. The 27 year-old reflected on how she started so strongly in her initial career as a model, but later on hit a rough patch when the amount of castings and brand gigs turned dangerously lean. This translated to more free time in the bustling city of New York. She expressed her gratitude for this molding time though, as it led her to taking the unfamiliar road to acting which later turned to her breakout role in Squid Game. “Looking back, if not for those quiet and lonely times, I don’t know that I would have ever dreamed of acting.”

More often than not, the person who criticized Hoyeon most was herself. She admits that until now, she struggles with low self-esteem. Cast members, such as actor Park Hae-soo who played Cho Sang-woo alongside her, and Louis Vuitton artistic director of women’s collections, Nicolas Ghesquière, beg to disagree with the actress’ self-cynicism though. 

korean stars vogue
Photo Courtesy of Instagram (@voguemagazine)
korean stars vogue
Photo Courtesy of Instagram (@voguemagazine)

We were drawn to her energy, her professionalism, and, of course her personality. Hoyeon was so very special. She was super generous and friendly. We all fell in love with her.” – Ghesquière over the phone with Kim 

Without the slightest tinge of hauteur one would expect from the most-followed Korean actress in Instagram, Hoyeon shares noteworthy learnings she’s carried closely from her low points, “What’s important in life is not when your career is up, but when your career is down and how you spend that time. That’s something I learned.” 

The model-slash-actress picked herself up by investing in her growth by means of classes that touched on English, martial arts, yoga and acting. Her grit perfectly captures and embodies the famous Confucious quote, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” 

Bae Doona (Vogue US April 2019)

While Hoyeon was the first Korean star to be the sole cover model for Vogue US, it was actress Bae Doona that made history as the first ever Korean to make the cover after 127 years since the publication’s inception. Albeit she was not alone, but joined with equally talented personalities such as Scarlett Johansson and Deepike Padukone. The April 2019 issue’s focus was a “A Celebration of Global Talent”. 

This was especially relevant as during this time the 42 year-old veteran actress was creating buzz with her portrayal of Seo-bi in the zombie thriller fused saeguk (historical) Netflix drama, Kingdom. On top of that, she already penetrated the international scene countless times with her roles in Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending and cult-favorite Netflix original series, Sense 8. 

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