Martinez is Cuban-American but she was born in Puerto Rico. She was raised in Miami. Prior to acting, Martinez practiced ballet for ten years. She is the grandniece of prima ballerina Alicia Alonso.
She began her career on television with guest-starring roles. In 2007, she had supporting role in film The Hitcher. She later returned to television and had number of guest and recurring roles on dramatic series. She played Mariella Moretta in the TNT crime drama, Southland from 2009 to 2011, and Theresa Lopez on the ABC Family drama, The Lying Game (2012–2013). She also had recurring roles on Vanished, The Unit, Breakout Kings, and Nashville.
Martinez was regular cast member on the short-lived primetime soap opera, Hollywood Heights in 2012. In 2013 she began starring in the Amazon comedy series, Alpha House. In 2014, Martinez also was cast as recurring in The CW comedy-drama Jane the Virgin, and HBO crime drama True Detective.
|2001||Sex and the City||Woman in Restaurant||Episode: "Anchors Away"|
|2006||Faceless||Mari Reynosa||Television film|
|2006||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Kelly||Episode: "Dennis and Dee Get a New Dad"|
|2006||Vanished||Ava Herrera||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2007||The Unit||Annie||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2008||ER||Mia||Episode: "Owner of a Broken Heart"|
|2008||The Apostles||Erin McBride||Television pilot|
|2009||Boldly Going Nowhere||Ruby||Television pilot|
|2010||CSI: NY||Lisa Brigosa||Episode: "Sangre por Sangre"|
|2010||Chase||Karen Nelson||Episode: "Under the Radar"|
|2010||A Walk in My Shoes||Molly||Television film|
|2009–11||Southland||Mariella Moretta||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2011||Law & Order: LA||Soledad Alvarado||Episode: "El Sereno"|
|2011–12||Breakout Kings||Marisol||Recurring role, 3 episodes|
|2012||Hollywood Heights||Kelly||Series regular, 56 episodes|
|2013||Nashville||Carmen Gonzalez||Episodes: "Be Careful of the Stones You Throw" and "I'm Sorry for You, My Friend"|
|2012–13||The Lying Game||Theresa Lopez||Recurring role, 10 episodes|
|2013||Criminal Minds||Tara Rios||Episode: "Nanny Dearest"|
|2013–2014||Alpha House||Adriana de Portago||Series regular|
|2013||Hawaii Five-0||Lyla Simmons||Episode: "Aloha. Malama Pono"|
|2013||Necessary Roughness||Episode: "Sympathy for the Devil"|
|2014–2019||Jane the Virgin||Dr. Luisa Alver||Recurring role|
|2015||True Detective||Felicia||Recurring role|
|2016||Rosewood||Julia Delgado||Episode: "Silkworms y Silencio"|
|2016, 2018, 2019||Bull||Isabella "Izzy" Colón||5 episodes|
|2017||The Tick||Ms. Lint||Series regular|
|2018||This Is Us||Amber Rivas||Episode: "Six Thanksgivings"|
|2020||Deputy||Dr. Paula Reyes||Upcoming series|
- Stout, Chris (March 17, 2011). "Yara Martinez Interview". MANjr.com. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
- "Hungry for Work: Yara Martinez of 'Alpha House' Holds Up a Mirror to Herself and to Today's Politics". galomagazine.com.
- "Actress Yara Martinez Discusses Her Career and Latina Heritage". Modern Wellness Guide. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "Yara Martinez - Biography - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Yara Martinez". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- Trivino, Jesus (November 27, 2013). "Exclusive: Yara Martinez Talks Alpha House, Mark Consuelos, & Being a Cubarican". Latina. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 19, 2014). "True Detective Adds Michael Hyatt and Yara Martinez For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- Porter, Rick (June 29, 2015). "True Detective Episode 2: That Really Was Rick Springfield". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2017-02-08). "'The Tick': Yara Martinez Upped To Regular On New Amazon Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-08-29.