Kang Ye-won made her acting debut in the musical Carmen in 2000. A year later, she appeared in the SBS sitcom Honey Honey and promoted under her birth name for several years. In 2007, she became part of the comedy-drama film Miracle on 1st Street, which earned her a Best New Actress nomination at the 15th Chunsa Film Art Awards. In 2009, she received another Best New Actress nomination at the 30th Blue Dragon Film Awards for the disaster film Tidal Wave. In 2010, she acted alongside Kim Yun-jin and Na Moon-hee in the movie Harmony, which won her Best New Actress at the 18th Chunsa Film Art Awards. In 2015, she scored the Popularity Award at the MBC Entertainment Awards for her participation in the fourth season of the reality-variety show We Got Married, where she was paired with actor Oh Min-seok. In 2016, she joined Lee Sang-yoon in the mystery-thriller film Insane, which gave her a Best Actress nomination at the 53rd Grand Bell Awards. That same year, she was named Best Actress in a One-Act Drama at the KBS Drama Awards for Becky Has Returned. In 2017, she was nominated for a Top Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards for Man Who Dies to Live.

Kang Ye-won received classical vocal training in her younger years and majored in vocal music at Hanyang University. She revealed in an interview that she developed vocal cord nodules during the filming of the movie Tidal Wave in 2009. She also paints and has hosted several art exhibitions.