‘Squid Game’ Star Hoyeon Says Fame Includes ‘Many Unbelievable Experiences,’ But Also ‘Moments of Self-Doubt’

Hoyeon and Donald Glover were among the honorees at the inaugural GQ Global Creativity Awards on Thursday at the WSA, a new cultural center in downtown Manhattan.

Hosted by musical artist Ian Isiah, the black tie gala spotlighted several multidisciplinary creatives that encompass such industries as fashion, film, television, music, tech and design.

The inaugural class of honorees included Glover, Hoyeon, Apple CEO Tim Cook, fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, singer-songwriter Karol G, architect Gaetano Pesce, fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner, skateboarder Tyshawn Jones and filmmaker William Strobek.

The first Global Creativity Awards honoree to be recognized was “Squid Game” star Hoyeon.

“What makes a global creative? Is it talent? Intelligence, desire, courage, curiosity, diligence, imagination, innovation, boldness? Is it perseverance? Audacity? Vision? Or is it the willingness to grow?” asked “Pachinko” author Min Jin Lee, who presented the award to the Korean model-turned-actor. “To me, it is perhaps all those qualities and more, which define my friend Jung Hoyeon.”

“While I was gifted with so many unbelievable experiences thanks to ‘Squid Game,’ I also experienced moments of self-doubt. One day, I wondered, ‘Am I too much?’ And the next day, I asked myself, ‘Am I enough?’” Hoyeon said in her acceptance speech. “Through it all, I have come to understand that in order to be fearlessly creative, the question that matters is, am I myself?”

She added, “I can’t wait to collaborate with more amazing and talented people, like Min Jin here, around the world and share it with everyone everywhere all at once.”

While up on stage to accept his award, Cook acknowledged “Ted Lasso” star and presenter Hannah Waddingham.

“You bring so much humor and heart to [‘Ted Lasso’], it’s truly a joy to watch,” Cook said to Waddingham. “And it’s a wonderful example of what creativity can achieve. Whether it’s a line of dialogue that brings viewers to the edge of their seats, or the lines of code that bring so many innovations to life, creativity has the unique power to move people, to inspire us, to connect us.”

The GQ Global Creativity Awards featured two surprise fashion shows: models wore designs by Yamamoto in the lobby, while looks from Bonner’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection were presented at the gala dinner before her acceptance speech. French jazz duo Domi and JD Beck performed in one corner of the room as guests mingled and enjoyed a feast created by chef Jake Tyler Brodsky.

Zazie Beetz teared up while presenting the final award to “Atlanta” creator Glover.

“I think that Donald has shifted the way we can [use] television, Black TV, how music integrates into storytelling, male vulnerability, Black female vulnerability — and he doesn’t seem to be doing it on purpose. It’s just who he is,” Beetz said of her “Atlanta” co-star. “So you could call Donald a great writer, actor, director, producer, musician, style icon, father, partner — but the more I’ve gotten to know Donald, the more I know, he’s just himself playing in the playground.”

“I did not write anything. I thought this was a competitive award thing. I was like, ‘Oh, Tim Cook’s gonna win,’” Glover said jokingly.

He continued,  “I do feel like a kid in a playground where I get to be like, I want to do this. And some people are mean and they don’t give a fuck, which is fine. But then you find other people who really believe in you and love you, and they want to build these things with you. And then people notice it.”

The evening concluded with a disco after-party, featuring music by ACYDE and a special performance of “Tomorrow” and “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” by GloRilla.

The awards gala’s guest list included Anna Wintour, Antwaun Sargent, Babyface, ASAP Ferg, James Turlington, Jonathan Groff, Luka Sabbat, Maggie Rogers, Aurora James, Al Freeman, Alton Mason, Edgar Ramiraz, Abbey Lee and GQ’s global editorial director Will Welch.

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