Fashion & Beauty Women

Apo Whang-Od, Vogue’s Oldest Cover Model

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Written by Ashley Williams

When we think of models for high-end fashion magazines, we often picture young, slim, and conventionally beautiful individuals. However, Vogue Philippines is breaking the mold by featuring Apo Whang-Od, a 106-year-old tattoo artist, on its April cover. The move celebrates not only Whang-Od’s remarkable age but also her traditional art and the unique beauty of Filipino culture.

Apo Whang-Od’s Remarkable Story

Whang-Od, also known as Maria Oggay, is the oldest mambabatok or traditional Kalinga tattooist in the Philippines. She learned the art of hand-tapping tattoos from her father when she was a teenager, and she has been perfecting it ever since. Her signature geometric designs, created using only a bamboo stick, a thorn from a pomelo tree, water, and coal, were once earned by indigenous Butbut warriors. Today, international visitors flock to her mountain village of Buscalan to receive her tattoos.

Passing the Tradition

Whang-Od is aware that she is the last mambabatok of her generation and that her art can only be passed down to blood relatives. She has been training her grandnieces, Elyang Wigan and Grace Palicas, for several years to ensure that the tradition continues. “The tradition will continue as long as people keep coming to get tattoos,” Whang-Od said once in an interview with CNN.

Vogue’s Choice

Despite being 106 years old, Whang-Od continues to practice her art and has no plans to stop. Vogue Philippines editor-in-chief Bea Valdes said that the staff unanimously decided to put Whang-Od on the cover because she represents their ideals of what is beautiful about Filipino culture. “We believe that the concept of beauty needs to evolve, and include diverse and inclusive faces and forms. What we hope to speak about is the beauty of humanity,” Valdes said.

Making her the oldest person ever to appear on the front cover of Vogue is not only a milestone for Whang-Od, but it is also a significant step towards breaking age and beauty stereotypes in the fashion industry. The fashion and beauty industry is known for setting unrealistic beauty standards, but featuring Whang-Od on the cover of a high-end fashion magazine sends a powerful message that beauty and fashion are for everyone, regardless of age, size, or background.

Whang-Od’s story and art also shed light on the importance of preserving traditional art forms and cultural heritage. As the last mambabatok of her generation, she is passing down her skills to her grandnieces to ensure that the tradition continues. Her hand-tapped tattoos are not only symbols of strength, bravery, and beauty, but they are also a testament to the rich cultural history of the Philippines.

It highlights the need for diversity and inclusivity in the industry and recognizes the importance of preserving traditional art forms and cultural heritage. Whang-Od’s story is an inspiration to all, reminding us that age is just a number, and beauty comes in all forms.

Whang-Od’s appearance on the cover of Vogue Philippines is a momentous occasion not only for her but also for the fashion and beauty industry as a whole. It shows that beauty comes in all forms and ages and that traditional art and culture can be celebrated and appreciated on a global scale. It also highlights the need for diversity and inclusivity in the industry and recognizes the importance of preserving traditional art forms and cultural heritage.Whang-Od’s story is a reminder that we should cherish and preserve our cultural heritage, and that we should continue to push the boundaries of what is considered beautiful and fashionable.

About the author

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Ashley Williams

Hey there! I'm Ashley Williams, and I'm thrilled to welcome you to my corner of the internet. I'm a passionate writer who loves exploring the fascinating realms of technology, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and health.

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