Jang Young-nam began her career on stage, where she established herself as an award-winning performer. In 2001, she won Best New Actress in Theater at the 37th Baeksang Arts Awards for Dressing Room. The following year, she was named Best Actress at the 38th Dong-A Theater Awards for Romeo and Juliet. In 2009, she took home Best Actress trophies at that year’s Korea Theater Awards and Dong-A Theater Awards for Don’t Be Surprised. She also made a name for herself as a screen actress with her remarkable performance in films such as 2009’s My Girlfriend Is an Agent and 2010’s Hello Ghost. In 2012, she starred in her first leading role in the film Azooma, which earned her the Best Actress honors at the 17th Busan International Film Festival and the 2013 Irvine International Film Festival. Also in 2013, she collected Best Supporting Actress trophies at the 50th Grand Bell Awards and the 22nd Buil Film Awards for the hit fantasy romance film A Werewolf Boy. She then received a Special Acting Award at the 2013 SBS Drama Awards for her role in the series Goddess of Marriage. In 2020, she appeared in the top-rating tvN drama It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, which scored her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2021, she played a supporting character in MBC’s The Veil, which gave her an Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards.

Jang Young-nam graduated from Seoul Institute of the Arts. She married a theatre and film university professor in a private ceremony in December 2011. She gave birth to a son in 2014.