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Vogue has placed a 106-year-old tattoo artist from the Philippines on the cover: she became the oldest model to grace a fashion magazine

Vogue Philippines features Apo Wang Odu as cover stars of its April issue, making the 106-year-old Filipino tattoo artist the oldest person to ever appear on the cover of Vogue. Writes about it CNN.

Photo: IStock

106-year-old Wang Od, also known as Maria Oggay, has been perfecting the art of hand-tapping tattoos since she was a teenager, learning from her father.

Living in the mountain village of Buscalan, about 15 hours north of Manila, in the province of Kalinga, she is considered the country's oldest mambabatka, or traditional Kalinga tattoo artist.

Once upon a time, hand tattoos, which Wang Od creates with a bamboo stick, a thorn from a pomelo tree, water and coal, were the hallmark of local butbat warriors.

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Now foreign visitors looking for her signature geometric patterns make up the bulk of this tattoo artist's clientele.

Hailed as the last mambabatok of her generation, she imprinted the symbols of the Kalinga tribe, meaning strength, courage and beauty, on the skin of thousands of people who made the pilgrimage to Buscalan.

The art can only be passed down to blood relatives, and Wang Od has been teaching his grandnieces Eliang Wigan and Grace Palikas for several years now.

“All my tattoo friends have passed away,” Wang Od said in 2017.

“I am the only survivor who still gets tattoos. But I am not afraid that the tradition will stop, therefore I am teaching the next masters, she assured. – The tradition will not disappear as long as people come to get tattoos. As long as I can see well, I will continue to get tattoos. And I will stop as soon as my vision becomes blurred.

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Vogue Philippines Editor-in-Chief Bea Valdez said the magazine's staff unanimously agreed that Wang Od should be on the cover. “We felt that she represented our ideals of beauty in our Filipino culture. We are convinced that the concept of beauty must evolve to include diverse and inclusive faces and forms. We will talk about the beauty of humanity,” explained Valdez.

Prior to the publication of Wang Od's photo in Philippine Vogue, the record for the oldest cover model in that magazine was held by actress Judi Dench, who appeared on the cover of British Vogue in 2020 at the age of 85.

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