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  • Writer's pictureValeria Pugliese

A nose crisis, anemoia & AI

After coming back from Egypt and what has been a 12-day-long immersion in ancient Egyptian figurative arts, the twisted perspective of frontal bodies and constant faces in profile, made me enter in yet another nose-crisis mode.

Queen Nefertari, my all-time favourite profile

The usual cycle of spending days looking for plastic surgeons in the UK, Italy and Turkey, followed by beloved ones, friends and, this time, also university colleagues and a photographer stating I must stop with this obsession over it and that, allegedly, it gives me a powerful assertive look and it would be miserable of me aspiring to look like everyone else, this time shifted from the customary temporary shut up to a more medium-term positioning: I should find a way to embrace my 'facial assertiveness'.

Thorough research on noses followed.

Ancient Egyptians considered the nose to be the most important orifice in one's body and handled it with the greatest care during mummification.

Mummy of Ramses II and his regal nose

The nose-to-nose afterlife exchange of breath with the goddess Sekhmet gave eternal life to the soul of the deceased being a 'forgotten portal to the archaeology of the psyche' (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, 2010).

The pharaoh Sneferu inhales the breath of life from the goddess Sekhmet. Painted limestone relief, ca. 2600 BCE

I always had a highly developed olfaction; my earliest and also my most delightful and erotic memories are associated with smells, human smells, making me a firm believer in perceived lover compatibility based on pheromones detection through my nose.

Beware then: if I am tormenting your personal space limits and I am secretly trying to smell you.

Nose shapes and sizes can be associated with people’s ethnicity and ancestry, character and personality.

An aquilinus (eagle-like) or Roman nose is often associated with power, dominance, nobleness, and ambition.

This makes me a domina, definitely.

Roman surnames (Cicero, Naso, Nasica, Silanus, Silo, Silus) evoked these distinctive noses.

In Victorian England, where the nose was considered ‘the strongest, highest, and most perfect expression of character, even in the face of a beast, the Roman nose was considered the most desirable type, a sign of great powers of decision, energy and firmness (Lovatt, 2014).

Colossus of Constantine, Capitoline Museums, Rome

In Egypt I learned Pascal's expression 'Cleopatra's nose': 'had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have changed' (Pascal, 1952) referring to how seemingly inconsequential factors can have a deeply transformative influence on history.

Right, enough about my nose, basta!

It is December 2022, London is woker and more horribly dressed than ever (workplaces have got a 'Christmas jumpers welcome' policy this year and I just can't), I am sick with anemoia (especially fashion and Beauty anemoia) on a regular basis and I am, willingly, a casualty of the artificial intelligence (AI) time-machine trend.

The poisonous blend of my monthly obsessions resulted in a new awareness at last:

AI allowed me to explore how I would look in different historical periods and I absolutely slay the ancient Roman Empress look!

AI-generated hundreds of images and my vanity has been caressed the most by the Ancient Roman and Greek looks.

This is the proof I am a pure descendant of empress Valeria Messalina: name, personality and proclivities are definitely still imprinted in my genes.

Peder Severin Krøyer, Messalina, 1881, Gothenburg Museum of Art

I am confident this realisation will affect my fashion choices going forward and, maybe, just maybe, will keep me away from plastic surgeon quotes and further nose-crises for the time being.

Preferred AI looks below; Roman, Greek and many more:

Ancient Egyptian

Valeria Messalina (my favourite!)

Ancient Roman

Greek Mythology






Marquise de Merteuil

Pioneer ('The Piano' vibes)



British Lady


Reference list

Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (2010) The Book of Symbols. Cologne: TASCHEN GMbH.

Lovatt, H. (2014) 'Roman Noses'. Available at: (Accessed: 15/12/2022).

Pascal, B. (1952) The Provincial Letters. Pensées. Chicago: William Benton / Encyclopaedia Britannica.


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