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Meet The Oldest Vogue Cover Model Ever — 106-Yr-Old Tattoo Artist Apo Whang-Od.

A social media post about Apo Whang-Od.

Apo Whang-Od isn’t your typical cover model. At 106, this traditional tattoo artist was the oldest model to grace the cover of Vogue. However, that’s just the beginning of what makes her feature in the fashion magazine unique. As a teenager, Apo Whang-Od was the first female mambabatok, carrying her father’s torch in a long-held Filipino tattooing tradition. Now, she’s the last steward of this form of body art.

Also known by the name Maria Oggay, Apo Whang-Od lives in the village of Buscalan. While it’s hardly a convenient travel destination, people still come from across the globe to get tattooed by this legendary artist. However, it should be noticed that the practice of batok is more than cosmetic. Its rich tradition is rooted in the culture of the Kalinga people.

Originally, a mambabatok would tattoo a meaningful symbol on a warrior’s body to commemorate an achievement. In Apo Whang-Od’s time, men and women usually received one of these beautiful markings for their cultural significance rather than as a sign of battle prowess. However, the practice of using tattoos to celebrate a personal milestone was still very much alive.

Among the many non-locals to have received a tattoo from Apo Whang-Od in more recent years was author and journalist Simone Stolzoff. He shared this incredible experience on social media. In his post, he explained that it used to be up to Whang-Od to choose the design for her recipient. While in modern times she started to allow clients to pick their own symbol from a book, Stolzoff decided to go the more traditional route.

Apo Whang-Od is passing her knowledge down her family line.

Batok isn’t just something you learn — it’s something you inherit. Just as Whang-Od’s father passed this tradition on to her, she’s passing it on to her younger relatives. While the oldest Vogue cover model doesn’t have kids, the magazine says that she began teaching her grandniece, Grace Palicas, when the girl was just 10 years old!

In her exquisite shoot for the magazine, photographers celebrate Apo Whang-Od’s beauty, including her many, many tattoos! These intricate markings cover her arms and part of her chest as she poses for the cover image.

Beauty means many different things to many different people. However, when you see 106-year-old Apo Whang-Od on the cover of Vogue, covered in the symbols of her culture, you can’t help but find her absolutely gorgeous.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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