In Beijing as an artist-in-residence with Australia China Council, I became friends with Jin Shuai who is 17. She has been studying dance since she was 10 and recently graduated from the Beijing International Art School. Through her own dedication and discipline she has taught herself English and is now reasonably fluent. The photo was taken in her bedroom at her house in the south of Beijing, where she lives with her mother and stepfather during her school holidays. It was taken during Chinese New Year, which is why Jin Shuai has laboriously decorated her wall with balloons. I wanted to take the portrait in her room, as this is largely her only personal space. As we were talking she picked up the magazine with the image of an Anglo woman. The juxtaposition epitomises Jin Shuai's own situation, as she dreams of the day she may be able to study abroad.