Sooyoung debuted as one half of the short-lived Korean-Japanese singing duo Route 0 in 2002. They disbanded in 2003 after releasing three singles. In 2007, she was launched as part of the South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation or SNSD, which earned the nickname “The Nation’s Girl Group” in their home country. They were also honored as the top K-pop girl group of the past decade by Billboard in 2017.

Sooyoung landed her first leading role in the 2012 tvN medical drama Third Ward. In 2013, she starred in the tvN romantic comedy Dating Agency Cyrano, which earned her a Best New Actress nomination at the 6th Korea Drama Awards. In 2014, she appeared in MBC’s My Spring Days, which won her an Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards and the 8th Korea Drama Awards. In 2019, she was nominated for Best New Actress at the 40th Blue Dragon Film Awards for her work in the crime comedy film Miss & Mrs. Cops.

Sooyoung has been in a relationship with actor Jung Kyung-ho since early 2013. Her older sister Choi Soo-jin is a musical theater actress.