Fit Chat: Finola Hughes

The actress, dancer, and mother of three tells us about her favorite workouts and why she grows her own vegetables.

Finola in her garden in Santa Barbara. Photo provided.

Finola in her garden in Santa Barbara. Photo provided.

The “Ladies of General Hospital” tour hits Boston Sunday, September 8th. We talked to the ladies about their workout routines and lives as soap stars. Click here for our previous chat with Lisa LoCicero. For tickets, click here.

Finola Hughes is an Emmy Award winning actress who currently plays Anna Devane on General Hospital. You may also know her from the Style Network’s, How Do I Look? or from the West End of London where she starred in the original production of Cats. Hughes was a professional ballet dancer and starred with John Travolta in the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, called Staying Alive. Throughout her career, the 53-year-old has maintained her dancer’s body, even after three children. We talked to Hughes about motherhood, yoga, growing your own vegetables, and her favorite place in Boston.

You do a lot of yoga. What’s your favorite kind?

I like a vigorous flow, ashtanga, and sometimes Bikram. I try to practice at least three time per week. I sometimes take my yoga mat into my dressing room if I haven’t managed to go.

What other workouts do you enjoy?

I love walking and swimming, and I also take online ballet classes. I used to be a ballet dancer, I started when I was three. I was dancing on television at 15 and in a ballet company at 18. I was in the original cast of Cats over in London. I’ve done everything, really. I took my kids rock climbing the other day. I love spin classes, and I even have my own spin shoes. I love bootcamp, too.  I love paddleboarding. Actually, I have not yet found something that I don’t like.

Right now on General, you play a police commissioner, and in the past you played a member of the WSB (the soap opera’s version of the CIA). When you first came back to the show, you had to propel down a rope from a helicopter. I can imagine that your fitness background helps with all of the action in those roles.

Yes, definitely. I also used to do karate, too. It’s fun to play them, and it’s easier if you are going to have a fight choreographed to have a good background in it all, otherwise you will look like a geek. I think that if you keep your body stretched and healthy you are less likely to have aches and pains when you are older.

Are you into the trendy Hollywood diets?

I’m not really into fad diets. My family and I am more inclined towards the Mediterranean way of eating. We eat very European in that respect. Rice and fish, olive oil… we grow all our own vegetables where I live in Santa Barbara. We have two vegetable plots with fruit trees, different lettuces, corn, beets, potatoes, strawberries, loads of berries, apples, and more. We eat off the land.

Finola Hughes in the original production of Cats in London. Photo provided.

Finola Hughes in the original production of Cats in London. Photo provided.

Will you get to explore Boston while you’re here?

I’m one of those people that always escapes from the hotel and I go off exploring. I love Boston, and I’ve been there many times, actually. I love the antique shops in Beacon Hill on Charles Street. Last time I was in Boston, I went all along there and found a really cool tailor’s dummy. It was a great vintage piece. I loved it so much I had it shipped to Santa Barbara.

How do you find the balance between a demanding job, being a wife and mother, and staying in shape?

I aim for good, not for perfect. I’m pretty comfortable with that. I just try to be good, as good as I can and I don’t beat myself up too much. It’s not an easy slice of the pie that women are trying to angle for these days. It’s hard to try to do everything. I wish that more women would realize that. Just keep your priorities straight. For me, my children always come first. If you can try to shut your brain your brain down for an hour or so a day, it helps.

Like through yoga.


Soaps are filmed quickly. I heard sometimes it’s 70 scenes in a day. It must do wonders for your memory and brain health.

That’s what I’m counting on.