Initially interested in poetry and painting, she became a journalist for the daily Zan. In 1999 she conducted research on women earning money in the Iranian city of Qom, a center for Shi'a scholarship and pilgrimage, by engaging in temporary marriage with pilgrims and religious scholars, in what she called a thinly veiled form of prostitution. This work resulted in her being imprisoned for 11 weeks in Towhid Prison. She moved to the United States and in 2001 wrote a piece in the Village Voice about these issues.
After she published an article with James Ridgeway in the Village Voice in December 2001 criticizing the People's Mujahedin of Iran, the organization replied with a letter to the editor, alleging "shameful ties [...] between Camelia Fard and Iran's ruling mullahs" and claiming that she is a "well-known friend of Mullah Abtahi".
She has since reported on Iran and Afghanistan for AP, Reuters, the Village Voice and Mother Jones. Her book Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth—a Memoir of Iran (ISBN 1583227199) was published in March 2007. In the book she relates that her mother had sympathized with Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, and that Camelia had initiated a romance with her abusive interrogator which led to her early release from prison.