The Chinese have come a long way since the Cultural Revolution when self-expression was not permitted.
Ma Yanli epitomises the new China and the success that has come from individual freedoms, which have allowed many to achieve their dreams in their chosen careers.
Ma is a shining example of many Chinese who have reached their goals with talent and determination to get to the top.
Ma has had success in different careers in only a short number of years.
First as a sportswoman from 1990 to 1993 when she garnered accolades as a champion rower in Central Chinas Henan Province in 1991.
Her fame coupled with her great beauty brought her to the attention of a wider public and this led to her new career in modelling in 1994.
Her beauty and professionalism soon spread and she regularly appeared on catwalks and in adverts all over China.
She was in demand from designers and major advertisers and won many awards propelling her to the position of Chinas top model between 1998 and 1999.
During her successful modelling career she could see that new models were appearing all the time and realised that she could soon loose her super model status to a younger and prettier model, so in 1997 she enrolled on a fashion design course at Dong Hau University.
After studying fashion she stepped into her third career as a fashion designer and used her experience and knowledge as a fashion model to create her own line of clothing.
She discovered she was a natural at understanding what the young aspirational Chinese women wanted to wear in todays modernised China.
Through hard work and determination she created her own luxury fashion brand Mary Ma, which caters for her celebrity clientele.
Describing her fashion brand she says that it reflects the wearers inner beauty and follows traditional cultural Chinese values.
Like most modern women she has been balancing work and family life and has seldom been seen in public since she has had her children.
In 2005 she was invited to become an image ambassador and has been involved in various charity activities as well as continuing with her fashion business and bringing up her children.