View Full Version : Yolanda Hughes: Former Ms International Update

Musclepapa John
12-30-2008, 11:01 AM
Yolanda Hughes Heying



Yolanda Hughes Heying, 45, is a former professional bodybuilder. Retired from competitive bodybuilding, the former Ms.Universe, two-time winner of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic and second-place finisher in the Ms. Olympia competition, is now a personal trainer and proprietor of a pole-dancing exercise studio called Fitness Exotica in Bellingham.

Here is her story, in her own words:

"I worked as a personal trainer, still do, at Gold’s Gym. I also competed as a professional bodybuilder. I did that for 20 years. I haven’t been onstage for 10 years as a bodybuilder. I won the Ms.Universe. I won the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic two years in a row. Arnold is a pretty funny guy. He is all about business.

"I was in the movie 'Rollerball,' the remake. That was in 2001. That was a great experience. Had a blast! Thought that I wanted to pursue that career. But I went out to L.A. and changed my mind. It was just being that I was so different. Being muscular, a woman of color. They were saying 'you're way too big.' Just dealing with the superficialness, I decided I didn't want to do that.

"I got into bodybuilding by a pro wrestler named Hillbilly Jim back in Kentucky. He spotted me practicing gymnastics and asked me if I would to be interested in competing in bodybuilding. I trained for four weeks and I placed second. I thought that was good for not knowing what I was doing, I just kind of fooled around with it until I started winning the national championships and then I took it serious.

"Pole dancing… is a way for women to get fit. It is more about the fitness and athletic part of pole dancing. In '05 I was getting ready to go back onstage. I was working out and I tore my Achilles tendon. I had to have surgery. In that time of being still I came up with the idea. I had tried pole dancing once. It was a lot of fun.

"And I saw something on ‘Oprah.’ I thought that’s it. I didn’t know anything about it. I‘ve only been on the pole once, for a whole maybe 10 minutes. I got on the internet and started to do research. I found a gal up in Canada who has a pole dancing studio. She is my mentor. Her name is Tammy Morris. She has helped me from A to Z.

"It is a great way to have fun, get fit. Also explore the sensual side of yourself. For me coming from a bodybuilder and now going into pole dancing, it is kind of the opposite ends of the spectrum. The bodybuilder part zeroes in the building of the body, whereas the pole dancing is more sensual and very athletic. It is like Circ De Soleil.

"The poles are two inches in diameter; the ones here are 11 feet. They are bolted in. The girls learn how to do tricks on the poles, which is lifting your own body weight, which is a great way to get fit, because it is dead weight. It is like doing pull-ups. You learn how to dance.

"You put the combination of dancing and the pole together. Five minutes of dancing and doing pole tricks is a real cardio workout.

"It takes a lot of core strength and upper back and arms. It's really a good workout. It's fun, a sense of freedom. Liberating! For women to really just own their own power I've seen a few men do it. They can do the pole tricks, but sometimes the dance movement in between doesn’t quite have that aesthetic.

"(Women) don’t have to be athletic, they don’t have to be fit. That's what it is all about: getting them fit, getting them in touch with their bodies. Taking the time for themselves. Learning to appreciate their femininity in an environment where they don’t have to worry about guys.

"It came to the mainstream as a workout for women. There was an actress named Sheila Kelly who was training for a part in a movie. She danced on the pole. Afterwards she saw that she was getting in shape. So after she finished shooting this movie, she started dancing in her garage and her girlfriends would come over and join her. That’s how it became a mainstream thing. She has a studio called the S Factor.

"There is nothing like seeing women who come in who are inhibited, seeing them blossoming. Seeing the confidence they gain. That's rewarding for me."

Contact Information
Yolanda Hughes
119 N. Commercial, Suite 350
Bellingham, WA 98225, U.S.A.

Contest History

* 1984 NPC Ironmaiden - 2nd (HW)
* 1988 NPC Los Angeles Championship - 2nd (HW)
* 1988 NPC Orange County Classic - 1st (HW & Overall)
* 1988 NPC USA Championship - 6th (HW)
* 1989 NPC USA Championship - 5th (HW)
* 1990 NPC USA Championship - 4th (HW)
* 1990 NPC Nationals - 3rd (HW)
* 1991 NPC USA Championship - 2nd (HW)
* 1991 NPC Nationals - 3rd (HW)
* 1991 IFBB World Amateur - 2nd (HW)
* 1992 IFBB World Amateur - 1st (HW)
* 1992 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 8th
* 1993 Ms. International - 5th
* 1993 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 11th
* 1994 Ms. International - 3rd
* 1994 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 8th
* 1995 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 10th
* 1996 Ms. International - 4th
* 1997 Ms. International - 1st
* 1997 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 3rd
* 1998 Ms. International - 1st
* 1998 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd
* 1999 Ms. International - 3rd

12-30-2008, 12:59 PM
Wow! That's a name I haven't heard in a long time. Good luck to her. Big changes since she was on stage last.

12-30-2008, 01:03 PM
wow- she looks great!!! sheesh!

12-30-2008, 01:05 PM
wow- she looks great!!! sheesh!

Those were from 10 years ago. She was massive, yet always looked great. I have the videos from the last Os she did.