Michelle Heyman catches a glimpse of her face painted on a mural in the heart of the city centre.
Her smile grows a little wider and her feet move a little faster until the Canberra United star finds herself face to face with the finished product on Canberra's bustling Bunda Street.
"I just find it ridiculous that I'm on a wall," Heyman grinned.
"I was like 'why me? Why was I the lucky one to be the local hero for this?' But I feel very grateful and honoured."
The 32-year-old soccer star is the centrepiece of one of five street art installations across Australia celebrating LGBTQ+ identities ahead of this weekend's Mardi Gras parade.
But perhaps more lasting than the sight of Heyman's brunette hair with flicks of blonde, or the lip ring shining bright on the left side of her face, is the message painted on the wall.
I rise to inspire others to live as their true selves.
Heyman has heard the stories of struggle, the news about children committing suicide after being bullied about their sexuality. It's enough to rock the Olympian to her core.
Which is why the Canberra United crowd favourite is so desperate to be a voice for change leading into the club's W-League clash with the unbeaten Brisbane Roar at Viking Park on Sunday and beyond.
"It's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin," Heyman said.
"For myself, being a professional athlete, having a lot of fans and being supported by a lot of people, I always wanted to be my true self, and that is a gay athlete.
"I wanted to make sure whoever you are, you can always be your true self. I believe you are more successful when you are true to yourself and living your best life. That's where it all comes from, to help inspire others to be their true self. That's the biggest thing about it. It's so nice to be a part of the public eye, to be able to read that and be able to help change people's mindsets as well. It's all positive.
"I know with the way the world is moving right now, there is a lot more support within the queer community. To be able to have a mural on a wall to help others live as their true selves, it is quite special.
"To be able to help shift the mindsets of the younger generation or someone who is not feeling really comfortable in their own skin, hopefully that builds some confidence so they can be their true self."
The street art murals can be found in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Melbourne, and highlight each city's local 'Rising Heroes' from the queer community on Instagram.
Instagram has partnered with the likes of Heyman, musicians Troye Sivan and Cub Sport, Indigenous drag performer Felicia Foxx, trans model AJ Clementine, and comedian Jeff van de Zandt to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Each mural comes with its own powerful message: in Sydney, we rise for First Nations visibility and for our ancestors. In Melbourne, we rise for representation, courage and acceptance. Across to Perth, we rise for community, and in Brisbane we rise for freedom.
A QR code is included on each mural which takes viewers to a 'Safe & Strong 2021' safety and wellbeing guide for the LGBTQ+ community on social media.
The Instagram campaign includes new in-app features to celebrate Mardi Gras and the LGBTQ+ community including rainbow hashtags, rainbow story rings, and a shared Mardi Gras story come Saturday.
So often pilloried for its pitfalls, Heyman says campaigns like these can help to drive the message she is so desperate to share.
"Even having Instagram and how that influences myself to be my true self, to be able to share who I am as a person on social media is such a positive outlet," Heyman said.
"I am able to be true to who I am, I am able to share my relationship with my partner [Christine], and not hide anything. It is quite special to know my partner took that photo and now it is a part of something very special.
"I thought it was so powerful to be able to be chosen as the person to do something like this and to be able to create such a memorial of my head on a wall.
"It's something special within Canberra that they needed to do as well.
"I know we have the rainbow in Braddon on the roundabout.
"But now to be able to have a queer icon on a wall somewhere to help inspire people to live as their true selves, that's quite a powerful message that is left behind."