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Michelle Calvarese, PhD
Michelle Calvarese, owner of and esthetician at Truth Skin Care in Clovis, California, is a skin care professional and a professor who seeks truth and dispels skin care myths.
The 42-year-old has worked as a professor at California State University, Fresno, for 13 years, focusing on medical geography, which examines why disease occurs, where it spreads and how it gets from point A to point B. A couple of years ago, Calvarese developed a course that examines global approaches to integrative health, wellness and beauty. At that time, her interest in skin care was piqued. “I became more interested in beauty and wellness, so my career transitioned from infectious disease. Now, my focus is more on the larger category of holistic health, wellness and beauty,” she says.
The licensed esthetician’s scholarly background includes a bachelor’s degree in geography from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania; a master’s degree in geography from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania; and a doctorate in medical geography at Texas A&M. After field work in Uganda, Africa, she began to focus on global beauty. Calvarese eventually stretched her reach further to other regions, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Japan and Taiwan. In addition to her academic field work, she also spoke with spa owners and dermatologists in those countries.
“I was always interested in identifying the popular surgeries in the areas and what their expectation of beauty were, what were the gender norms, what was considered beautiful ... and they just varied so much,” she says.
In 2005, she decided to shift her focus. After being tenured at Fresno State, the Philadelphia native decided to go to esthetics school. Calvarese received her license in 2006 from Paul Mitchell Skin Academy in Fresno. Following that, she worked as an independent contractor for two salons in the Fresno area before opening her own facility.