Lee Joo-young started her acting career by appearing in various short films such as 2014’s A Hidden Story, which won her Best Actress at the 4th Goyang Smart Film Festival. In 2016, she became part of the movie A Quiet Dream by Korean-Chinese filmmaker Zhang Lu. Her performance in the film scored her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 4th Wildflower Film Awards. She then appeared in the drama film Jane, which earned her multiple Best New Actress nominations including one from the 54th Baeksang Arts Awards. Later in 2016, she made her TV debut in MBC’s Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju. In 2018, she took home the Actress of the Year trophy at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival for Maggie. In 2019, she starred in the sports drama film Baseball Girl, which gave her the Independent Star Award at the 45th Seoul Independent Film Festival. In 2020, she portrayed a transgender chef in the hit JTBC series Itaewon Class. In 2021, she received a Best New Actress nomination at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards for her leading role in OCN’s Times.

Lee Joo-young attended Kyung Hee University.