Perhaps known best for her role as vampire Nyssa Damaskinos in the movie Blade II, Varela also appeared in a made-for-TV movie version of the story of Cleopatra and earned an Ariel Award nomination for her performance in the 2004 Mexican film Voces Inocentes.
Before making her screen debut in the 1995 children's movie Pony Trek, she studied acting at several schools in Paris, France.
She began her rise to fame in her native Chile after appearing in a popular telenovela titled Tic Tac.
She and her siblings Javier, Alejandra, and Gabriel grew up in Chile and France as the children of Leonor Pilme-Keller and scientist Francisco Varela Garcia. She married producer Lucas Akoskin in 2013. The couple has two children, Matteo and Luna.
She was once engaged to American actor Billy Zane.