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106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist becomes Vogue cover model

106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist becomes Vogue cover model

The centenarian is the fashion magazine's latest model

A 106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist has become a viral sensation after making a debut appearance on Vogue's latest cover.

The iconic fashion magazine released its April issue on Friday (31 March), spotlighting the centenarian Kalinga woman, Apo Whang-Od, across the front cover.

The model, also known as Maria Oggay, is hailed as the Philippines' oldest traditional tattoo artist or 'mambatok' to date.

Apo Whang-Od appeared on the recent cover of Vogue Philippines.
imagegallery2 / Alamy Stock Photo

The magazine shared the news to Twitter yesterday, posting a photo of Whang-Od in traditional dress and the look was complete with colourful beads and a body intricately inked from head-to-toe.

The beauty issue was titled 'Next of Skin'.

Vogue Philippines captioned the reveal: "Apo Maria 'Whang-Od' Oggay symbolizes the strength and beauty of the Filipino spirit.

"Heralded as the last mambabatok of her generation, she has imprinted the symbols of the Kalinga tribe signifying strength, bravery & beauty on the skin."

Whang-Od first became famous after skilfully mastering the ancient 'batok' tattooing method.

The traditional technique - which is over 1,000 years old - revolves around the mambatok artist tapping ink made from charcoal soot into the skin using a very sharp stick.

According to the magazine, the model first started learning the age-old custom at just 16-years-old from her father.

Speaking to Vogue in her native Butbut language, Whang-Od explained that she has been hand-tapping these rich tapestries of work onto clients from all over the world and will go on as long as she can.

Talk about a life-long career.

She told the outlet: "When visitors come from far away,I will give them the tatak Buscalan, tatak Kalinga for as long as my eyes can see."

Whang-Od’s entire life is beautifully 'inscribed in her skin' from 'accomplishments to ailments and names of long-gone lovers'.

Whang-Od's issue has gone viral online.

"It tells a story of bravery, beauty & the rich heritage of the Kalinga tribe."

The photo shoot has since gone viral online with over 3.4 million people on Twitter alone viewing Vogue Philippine's initial release tweet.

One Twitter user posted: "This is the best Vogue PH cover so far."

"Best Vogue cover ever. Bravo!" echoed a second, while a third added: "No one will ever top this. Amazing."

Another fan of the shoot called the work a 'badass cover', before tweeting: "I don’t know how you all are going to top this!"

"The perfect cover for a beauty issue. Beauty in ageing. Beauty in culture. Beauty in being a Filipino," a final Twitter user commented.

"Thank you for this cover, Vogue Philippines."

Featured Image Credit: imagegallery2 / Alamy Stock Photo / Instagram / apowhangod

Topics: World News, News, Beauty, Fashion