Kim Joo-ryung first came into limelight in 1999 when she won the Miss Chunhyang beauty pageant. In 2000, she made her acting debut in the film Plum Blossom. She has since appeared in numerous movies, mostly playing minor roles. In 2007, she starred in the independent film Texture of Skin. In 2013, she was cast as lead in director Jang Gun-jae’s movie Sleepless Night, which earned her praises from critics. In 2017, she bagged her first TV acting gig in KBS1’s Andante. This was followed by cameo roles in a number of television series such as tvN’s Mr. Sunshine in 2018 and SBS’s Doctor John in 2019. Her career breakthrough came in 2021 when she became part of the widely popular Netflix survival drama Squid Game, which amassed a whopping 1.65 billion viewing hours on the first 28 days of its release. She and her Squid Game co-star Heo Sung-tae won the Best Actor Award at 2021 Asia Artist Awards. She also scored several acting nominations for her performance in the series, including one for Best Supporting Actress at the 58th Baeksang Arts Awards.

Kim Joo-ryung is married to a university professor. They have a daughter together.