It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.Somebody had...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

January 06, 1991|By Mary Corey

It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

Somebody had to give that blond-tressed, amply bosomed ideal of femininity known as the Barbie doll a personality.

Enter Lisa Trusiani.

As the artist and writer for the new Barbie and Barbie Fashion comic books, she is in charge of imbuing Ken's better half with charisma, compassion and intelligence.

In this month's debut issue, Barbie plays the clever problem solver when "The Fashion Show Must Go On," the charm school instructor when teaching "The Barbie Walk" and the Martha Stewart imitator when dispensing tips on "How to Throw a Dress-Up Party."

"I wanted Barbie to be a role model for children," says Ms. Trusiani, 31, who keeps a Barbie on her desk for inspiration. "In every situation, she makes the best decision."

After an apprenticeship with Marvel Comics, Ms. Trusiani accepted the assignment as she and her husband, Ben Greenberg, a resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, were preparing to move to Baltimore.

As for the toy's comic book future, however, Ms. Trusiani remains decidedly mum.

With Lois Lane and Clark Kent tying the knot, might Barbie follow the trend with longtime companion Ken?

"I'll ask her, but I'm not going to commit," she replies coyly. "You'll see that they'll care for each other, but it's not going to get racy."

When Richard Rowe thinks about his youth, his thoughts are always followed by one familiar emotion: fear.

He recalls being afraid for his safety as he walked through the streets of Detroit. But most at all, he recalls being afraid that he would, as teachers said, "amount to nothing."

Instead of fulfilling those dire predictions, Mr. Rowe today works to help youngsters face the same challenges he did.

Four years ago, he formed the Afrikan-American Men's Leadership Council, a group devoted to instilling pride in young black men. Several months ago, he became director of RAISE (Raising Ambition Instills Self-Esteem), a local mentoring program. And every other Tuesday, he hosts WEAA-FM's talk show, "Dialogues with the African-American Male."

His goal, he says simply, is "to offer hope to young people."

The former Urban League executive also sees his dedication as a way to repay his debts.

"I owe a lot to those who have motivated me," says Mr. Rowe, 39, who lives in Northwest Baltimore.

Now, as he and his wife, Denise, raise their two sons -- ages 5 and 5 months -- he finds he's putting lessons learned from his own life into practice.

"But I don't see fatherhood as a burden," he says. "I see it as an honor."

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