You never know where connections might lead. In the case of Athena Elliott, a nail technician at The Upper Hand in Houston, they led to the home of heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield for a face to face meeting with the champ. It began when Elliott arranged a trade-out of nail services in exchange for advertising in Male Ego, a local men's fashion magazine. When the magazine's publisher landed Holyfield for a cover she enlisted Elliott's aid in the grooming department. "A group of us were waiting in his house and when he walked into the room everybody sort of froze," she recalls. Elliott was first to break the ice with a hearty hello. When she explained she was there to give him a manicure, he countered that he didn't need one. Reluctant to let the opportunity slip away, she said, "Yes you do. At least you need a buff to a high shine." Holyfield acquiesced and Elliott performed a basic warm water manicure and a peppermint salt glow on his hands and arms. Holyfield was so pleased he invited her back to do his feet some time. And the magazine's publisher told her she could do all their covers from now on.

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