At the age of 14, Fernandez appeared on the popular BBC television series Jim'll Fix It. In October 2012, following a series of sexual abuse allegations made against the series' late host Jimmy Savile, Fernandez claimed that Savile had touched her inappropriately during the recording.
Her acting career began in 1992 when she starred as Vanessa Lockhead in the short-lived BBC soap opera Eldorado. She went on to play Sean Maguire's girlfriend in BBC1 drama Dangerfield before landing the role of Brenda in The Office.
In 2004, Fernandez formed a television production company called The Wheelie Good Company and has spent the time since working on new programme ideas. The company was set up by Fernandez to improve the representation of disabled people in the media but no longer focus on disability-related material.
She appeared as a regular guest on the quiz show HeadJam.
Fernandez is a disability rights activist in the United Kingdom and has supported campaigns for the Disability Rights Commission and Scope. She set up The Disability Foundation, a British pan-disability charity boasting one of the largest disability information databases in the UK. In January 2003, she co-hosted the opening ceremony for the European Year of People with Disabilities in Athens.
- Fernandez, Julie (27 November 2007). "Sex on wheels". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Julie Fernandez, actress". Independent.co.uk. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- Jimmy Savile 'groped Julie Fernandez when she was 14'. BBC News. 12 October 2012
- "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Julie Fernandez, actress". The Independent. London. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- "The Office's Julie Fernandez on starting her own business – Real Business". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- "Ouch Talk Show #49". BBC. March 2010.
- Fernandez, Julie (20 May 2014). "Disabled and broody: Why I decided not to have children". BBC. Retrieved 28 September 2016.