Raised in the Midwest, celebrity Oxygen Facialist Michelle Peck always felt the gift of touch and healing. She then moved to the west coast and developed her career as an esthetician, transforming the faces of some of Hollywood's most powerful stars (including Madonna!). Michelle developed a relationship with the singer five years ago, and she's never looked back. After visiting Africa with "M" and staying for a few months, Peck found her true calling—empowering women in Africa to change—and is heavily involved with the philanthropy Raising Malawi. We stopped by her hotel suite mid-Fashion Week for a little chat on oxygen treatments, how she keeps her skin flawless (it's literally porcelain), and her friendship with Hollywood's elite.
B: What's your skin care philosophy?
People are always asking me, "how can I look like Madonna?" To me, beauty truly is, and it's going to sound cliche, an inside job. You can come to me and spend 1k for two treatments, and I can leave you glowing externally, but we all know. We've all been in the rooms with people who are aesthetically beautiful but you don't even want to spend five minutes with them—because it all starts inside. They can come to me and do the external, but that's not what I'm about. When I treat someone, its ever about the face. The face is the byproduct. Beauty is a reflection of our internal world, externally.
B: You must get a range of clients from the celebrity and high-profile pools—how do you connect with your clientele?
I always say it's never about the treatment, it's always about something deeper. You talk about the treatment with a client for five minutes, then you're done with that. Then you start talking about life. I have a very intimate job with people, it doesn't matter how powerful they are, when they're with me, it's the most vulnerable part of their day. It could be a CEO or a famous celebrity—having your clothes off makes a great equalizer. That's what moves me in life, having a conversation with people.
Q: How do you feel about your daughter, Tarin, following in your footsteps?
I have a really amazing, well-rounded child. It's hard to raise a really good kid in L.A. or Hollywood, and she's amazing. I don't just say that because I'm her mom—she's just a really good soul, and I believe a lot of that is because of the choices I made to be there for her. I wanted my choices to empower my daughter not have the same painful experiences as I had as a child. The only way I could do that was to be there for her as much as possible.
B: How did your relationship with Madonna begin and develop?
I was introduced to her six or seven years ago to do the Oxygen Treatment, and I ended up giving her a massage as well. She loved the treatment, and that's where our relationship began. Then I was invited to go on the 'Confessions' tour in 2006 to take care of her skin and body, and she invited me to go to Africa with her after the tour. You don't create a relationship over night, and we've developed a trustworthy connection throughout the years. In life, we attract like companions. You bring people into your life to learn and evolve. I've been fortunate to have an incredible example of a woman; she has an incredible audience for her voice. She uses that voice to make massive changes in the world, and to me—what better example could I have than someone that's NOT content with staying at the same level. As a result of working with her, I've been taught to think 10 steps ahead, and it's amazing, I love it. She's such a well-rounded woman who is sharing her gift with the world.
B: You have AMAZING skin—you must not wear a lot of makeup then?
I don't. But I do, however, wear red lipstick—Ruby Woo' by MAC. I have this thing with face claustrophobia where I can't stand the feeling of foundation on my skin. When I do have to wear makeup for press, I'm still a minimalist. Dr. Brandt, who's my dermatologist and one of my favorite people, he has a product called Pores No More, which I absolutely love. Otherwise I just do red lipstick. If you have on red lipstick and a good pair a heels you can pretty well go on anywhere you need to.
B: How does your lifestyle fit into your beauty philosophy?
I wake up and cleanse everyday (Intraceuticals Cleansing Gel). I am a huge fan of serums. The molecular structure of a serum is more powerful than creams. I don't believe in $400 beauty products, only a small percent of the population can afford that! For me, my favorite beauty products don't cost $400! I work out, I'm a runner. I do private Pilates. I'm a big fan of water, I haven't had a drink of alcohol in 19 years, and I don't go in the sun. The worst skin I've seen in the world is sun damaged skin. I love La Roche Posay sunscreen, it's the only sunscreen that goes near my skin (great Dr. Brandt recommendation, by the way). Another thing that's most important is focusing on the chest and hands as well. Look at women in Los Angeles that have had various 'adjustments' made to themselves—you can look at their hands and go, Hello! It's all about the full body.