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EXCLUSIVE: Hoyeon and Aya Nakamura Sign With Lancôme  

The actress and singer discussed beauty, fashion and what makes them tick. 

PARIS – Lancôme has appointed Hoyeon and Aya Nakamura global brand ambassadors.  

Hoyeon, a South Korean model-turned-actress, catapulted into stardom in her breakout role in the Netflix reality series “Squid Game.” She began modeling at age 16 and made her international runway debut five years later, in 2016, in New York. Hoyeon then modeled for many designers, photographers and publications.  

For her role in “Squid Game,” Hoyeon won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series award at the SAG Awards. She also received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. 

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Hoyeon has garnered 22.2 million Instagram followers. 

Nakamura, recently dubbed the “queen of French pop,” became a sensation with her song “Djadja,” in 2018. The Mali-born, Afro-Trap star launched her music career in 2014, at the age of 19, with the single “Karma” on Facebook. Fast-forward to today and her songs have been listened to 6 billion times, according to Lancôme. 

Aya Nakamura

Nakamura and the brand have co-created a film concept. It’s a video documentary, coming out on YouTube this summer, featuring the songstress on the road to Accor Arena concerts.

Hoyeon and Nakamura’s appointments come soon after YouTube and social media personality Emma Chamberlain became a Lancôme global ambassador. Such new faces, with large Gen Z fan bases, do not mark a change in paradigm for the brand, but an evolution, according to Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme international president, at L’Oréal. 

“What are the channels that make them a source of inspiration? That changes,” she said. “These women have founded their success on a referential that differs from that of the previous generation — and that’s a significant change.” 

Here, Hoyeon and Nakamura talk beauty, fashion and crafting their art. 

Hoyeon Discusses Beauty and Role-playing 

WWD: What about the global ambassadorship at Lancôme do you find most interesting? 

Hoyeon: It was personally a huge honor to be able to join a group of such wonderful actresses that I have long admired. I have always thought of Lancôme to be a brand that works with women who are beautiful both inside and out.  

WWD:  What do you wish to express through the role — especially as Lancôme’s first face from South Korea? 

H.: It will give me a chance to be able to share the value of beauty of many Asian women around the world. This also allows me to share and communicate the many different shapes and forms of beauty that not only women, but people anywhere, have within themselves.  

WWD: What are some of your key beauty secrets? 

H.: Basically, drink a lot of water. Hydrating inside is more important than hydrating outside. I was so late in taking care of myself, but recently I’ve been going to the spa. I have a facial massage with a hydration mask once a week.  

WWD: You have deep roots in fashion, such as with Louis Vuitton. What’s your personal fashion style? 

H.: I always like to be seen in a way where it doesn’t look like you try too hard, but you’re still presentable and put together. It’s in the little details. So I like to maintain a cool, chill and natural vibe, but maybe add just a little pop of color.  

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WWD: What have been the most challenging and exciting things about your role in “Squid Game,” your first acting experience? 

H.: There were so many challenges. If I were to choose one, it has to be how to become confident on set, because I was so inexperienced. The most exciting thing was how I was able to live as a different person during that time, able to absorb and express in [my] own way words spoken by another person or another figure.  

WWD: What was it like filming Apple TV+’s thriller “Disclaimer”? 

H.: I really enjoyed working with the whole crew, especially Cate Blanchett. I didn’t used to have a specific role model in my life, but now I want to say my role model is Cate Blanchett. I learned a lot of lessons from her. Just watching her and her presence, it made me feel I wanted to grow into a woman like her. 

WWD: What other types of characters might you be interested in playing next?  

H.: It’s not that I have a particular type of character or a particular genre that I want to do, but I want to portray characters that are human, above all else. I would really love to portray as many different human archetypes as possible.  

Aya Nakamura Dishes on Music and Style

WWD: What about Lancôme drew you to become its new global ambassador? 

Aya Nakamura: In my opinion, Lancôme has always been the reference brand for cosmetics, and I think it’s cool to partner with this brand because it will be surprising. We have a lot of projects coming up that are super exciting, and we’re excited to unveil all that. 

WWD: What messages do you wish to impart in the role? 

A.N.: I would like that people gain self-confidence, that they tell themselves “I can do it,” if they give themselves the opportunity. Do not listen too much to others, and focus on your goals. 

WWD:  How do those messages chime with your music’s message? 

A.N.: I am super spontaneous with my audience, and I think that’s one of the things people appreciate and follow me for. I don’t pretend. I am frank and honest. 

WWD: What are some of your key beauty secrets? 

A.N.: Beauty is all-encompassing — style, makeup, hair and attitude. If you are confident in yourself and you appreciate who you are, people will feel it. 

WWD: “DNK” just dropped. How would you describe that album, vis-à-vis your others? 

A.N.: It’s an album that talks mostly about love. I tried to explore romantic relationships. There are uptempo tracks with a more zouk ambiance in some parts that remind me of evenings of my younger years. There are some tracks that brought me out of my comfort zone with more acoustic productions that emphasized my voice without effects. Like for “J’ai Mal,” for instance, I tried to be as honest as possible. 

WWD: You’ve been called the “queen of French pop” — how does that feel? 

A.N.: It’s gratifying, for sure, but “Nakamurance” doesn’t have borders. I really want my music to continue exporting. 

WWD: You’ve had a longstanding link with fashion — starting with having studied it, and including a close working relationship with Simon Porte Jacquemus, for instance. How do you describe your fashion style, and how has that evolved? 

A.N.: Fashion is a real passion for me. I am hyper-flirtatious, and I adore trying new styles. With my notoriety, I have access to a lot more showrooms, fashion week, etc. And that nourishes me to create everyday outfits. It evolves all the time — that’s what is cool with fashion. There are hyper-young and hyper-creative designers who offer a new vision of fashion. It’s everything that I love.