Meet Alfreda Scheuer, a former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who worked for years in the shadows hunting down terrorists, is now working in a new career as a beauty influencer. This is a seismic shift for an officer who was once dubbed the ‘Queen of Torture’ at her former agency.

On Wednesday, The Independent reported that Scheuer is now working as a life coach who specializes in offering women midlife beauty and skincare advice online. Why would a former undercover operative make this change? Scheuer credited her time at the CIA with shaping her thinking on how to be an effective beauty coach.

"I learned that mindset matters and that being authentic is always best," Scheuer said in an Instagram post in January.

"I laughed at remembering how even in my former career, my passion for all things beauty was well known, and the females who worked with me sought out my advice and saw that it was okay to embrace being both a boss and a girl.

But her company, known as YBeUBeauty, does not make any explicit reference to any previous career in U.S. intelligence. Instead, Scheuer describes her background as a "senior government executive leading teams, mostly females, tasked with no-fail missions, taking smart risks, and even making life-and-death decisions".

It is not uncommon for former CIA officers to be circumspect about their time at the agency because of the heavily classified nature of their work. At the same time, Scheuer is already known not as an ordinary CIA officer, but as one of those involved in some of the agency’s darkest episodes, which included the torture of suspected terrorists.

Scheuer, who was portrayed by Jessica Chastain in the 2012 film "Zero Dark Thirty" and Diane Marsh in "The Looming Tower", worked in the CIA’s fabled Alec Station that was responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden. Despite not being openly named in the 2014 Senate investigation into the CIA’s use of waterboarding, Scheuer was identified as an official who repeatedly justified its value to lawmakers over the years.

Her moniker as the ‘Queen of Torture’ was gifted to her by New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer, who wrote Scheuer “gleefully participated” in the acts. For her part, Scheuer personally rejected this claim as a sexist caricature of her role in an interview with Reuters on April 20.

“I got that title because I was in the arena,” Scheuer told Reuters journalist Aram Roston. “In fact, I raised my hand loud and proud and you know, I don’t regret it at all.”

But involvement with waterboarding wasn’t the only controversial aspect of Scheuer’s time at the CIA.

In 2014, Scheuer married former Alec Station chief Michael Scheuer, who was responsible for tracking Bin Laden throughout the 1990s. After retiring in 2004, Scheuer aroused controversy with calls to execute President Barack Obama and various other European politicians, as well as his embrace of Q-Anon conspiracy theories. His wife declined to say if she shared these views, but acknowledged they debate on a “few topics”.

The Scheuers' tenure at Alec Station also coincided with a blistering CIA inspector general report in 2005 that faulted the agency for failing to share intelligence with the FBI ahead of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Scheuer denied the CIA was to blame, but Jane Meyer’s article reported that she had supervision over the officers who failed to share information with the bureau.