A 106-year-old woman from the Philippines is the oldest Vogue cover model

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

Vogue Philippines has revealed Maria Oggay aka Apo Whang-Od as the cover model for Vogue’s April issue. This 106-year-old woman is also the oldest Vogue cover model.

Whang-Od is known as mambabatok, a traditional Kalinga tattoo artist, the oldest there. He has been perfecting the art of tattooing under his father since he was a teenager.

“Called the last mambabatok of her generation, she has instilled the symbols of the Kalinga tribe – which signify strength, courage and beauty – on the skin of thousands who have made pilgrimages to Buscalan,” Vogue Philippines wrote in an Instagram post.



Whang-Od lives in a village in the mountains of Buscalan, Kalinga Province. It takes about 15 hours from Manila to get there.

Whang-Od only uses bamboo sticks, thorns from pomelo trees, water and coal to tattoo. Despite its simplicity, foreign tourists flock to Buscalan for its signature geometric tattoos.

“When guests come from far away, I will give them the Buscalan tata, Kalinga tata as far as my eyes can see,” said Whang-Od in Butbut.

In the leaked cover uploaded by Vogue Philippines, Whang-Od appears in a black tank-top and a number of accessories. His body is covered in black geometric tattoos.

“(My friends who gave me the tattoos) have all passed away,” Whang-Od told CNN Travel in 2017.

He claims to be the only surviving traditional Kalinga tattoo artist. But he’s not afraid the tradition will die because he’s training the next tattoo master.


This tradition, he said, will continue as long as people keep coming to get tattoos.

“As long as I can see well, I will continue to get tattoos. I will stop as soon as my vision becomes blurry,” he said.

Vogue Philippines chief editor Bea Valdes told staff at the publication that Whang-Od should be on the cover. According to him, Whang-Od represents the ideal of what is beautiful in Filipino culture.

“We believe that the concept of beauty needs to evolve, and include faces and shapes that are diverse and inclusive. What we want to talk about is the beauty of humanity,” added Valdes.

Prior to Whang-Od, the oldest Vogue cover model was actress Judi Dench. She is featured on the cover of British Vogue in 2020 at the age of 85.


(Gambas:Video CNN)

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