Elaine Dudley, 24, hopes she doesn't lay an egg when she launches her new business, Firebird Enterprises, this January: She will be marketing her own version of the ancient Ukrainian Easter favors. In addition to the traditional style, Dudley does Americanized updates which she calls "theater eggs" and decorates with Broadway or ballet motifs. She has made eggs for dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, actor Raul (Dracula) Julia and tennis ace Guillermo Vilas. Firebird prices range from $10 for a chicken's egg up to $75 (goose) and $300 (ostrich). Dudley learned how to blow out the white and yolk and then use a stylus (called a kistka) from a Ukrainian woman while taking Eastern European studies at the University of Alabama. The daughter of a retired Air Force major and his secretary wife, Dudley now works in the office of New York Congressman Henry Nowak. Though her moonlighting has earned her $3,000, she will not quit to go full-time into her exacting art. "If I accepted all the commissions," she allows, "I'd be doing very well, but I'd also go crazy. I don't want to burn myself out so that if I ever see another egg I'd die."
Walden Ashe, 26, has launched his own skin-care line in competition with major firms—and in San Diego, of all places. He was born (in Concord, Mass.) as Charles McPhillips and adopted his nom de jar because he thought it worked better on a moisturizer label. The "Walden" came from his literary hero Thoreau, and Ashe was a short form of his middle name (Ashmore). His father is a retired electrical engineer, and the boy was raised by grandparents when his mother died a year after his birth. At Brandeis, Ashe pursued his interest in theater. "I realized I couldn't support myself on stage," he says, "and I went backstage to do makeup." While studying for his cosmetology license, he got on-the-job training at a Boston opera company. A brief stint at Charles of the Ritz followed. "It got very boring," he says. In 1977 he became the first male beauty director at California's fashionable Golden Door health spa. After doing everyone from Phyllis Diller to Phyllis George, he observed that "dealing with celebrities loses its glitter when one examines their skin under a magnifying lamp." Last year Ashe began producing his herbal creams and opened The Walden Ashe Skin Care Center in San Diego. Now he has another in La Jolla. "My ultimate goal," he says, "is to be the top man's name in skin care."
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