Photo courtesy of Christina Gandolfo ((
Born and raised in New Mexico, daughter of a Civil Rights Activist and a Vietnam Vet. Raised on red and green chile, elk meat, jazz, and Cat Stevens.
A graduate from the prestigious MFA program at the University of Southern California in 2011. When not on the road for Regional theatre performances she resides in Pasadena, Los Angeles.
She is a founding member of Teatro Nuevo Mexico, a Latino theater company and current member of the Latina theatre troupe Las Meganenas.
In 2016 she was awarded Best Lead performance for her title role in Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles by Luis Alfaro, by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and nominated, along with the cast and crew, for Best Production by the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. (A Role she originated in the Luis Alfaro production of Bruja at the Magic Theatre directed by Loretta Greco)
Along with Culture Clash she won the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Production of 2015 in Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival.
In 2007 she received Best Female Performer of the Year from the NM Hispano Entertainers Association for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in Still Life, produced by Camino Real Productions, which opened at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque and subsequently toured to San Miguel Allende, Mexico
Zuniga Varela is also a certified Special Education teacher (MA in Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Education), with experience in social justice theatre curriculum development.