Born Leonor Varela Palma in Santiago, Chile back on December 9, 1972 though she she was raised outside of her birthplace. Her parents, along with so many others, were busy trying to flee the military regime of the time so her childhood was filled with many different locales. From Costa Rica to Germany to Colorado and finally, France.
This diversity has proven to be a boon in her acting career as she has appeared in French, Chilean and American film productions. In fact it was her role in a Chilean soap opera (Tic-Tac) that led to her snagging the lead female role in the ABC mini-series Cleopatra. Like the play MacBeth, Cleopatra productions must be cursed in another way. Like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in the previous version, her own Mark Anthony (played by Billy Zane) fell in love with her and were briefly engaged before the relationship ended.
Following the boost to her career that Cleopatra gave her she quickly landed some big screen Hollywood role. First there was a role in the Western Texas Rangers, with James Van Der Beek, Ashton Kutcher, and Dylan McDermott, which was quickly followed by director John Boorman's adaptation of John Le Carr駳 The Tailor of Panama, with Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush. However neither of these were her first steps in American film making, she had a brief role in Leonardo Di Caprio's Man In The Iron Mask where she was one of the ballroom dancers.
Her biggest break is undoubtedly going to be Blade 2: Bloodhunt, one big sequel that has garnered a huge following since the release of the first blood filled one. Also interesting is that although Billy Zane and Valera seem to have gone their separate ways the two have re teamed for the film Sea Devils, a story that details the exploits of a squad of Italian frogmen during World War II, focusing on their daring raid against British warships anchored in Alexandria, Egypt.