A 106-year-old Indigenous tattoo artist becomes Vogue’s oldest ever cover model

The Vogue Philippines April issue has revealed that their cover star is Apo Whang-Od, 106-year-old tattoo artist from the Philippines, who now has the distinction of being the oldest person ever to appear on the front of Vogue in the entire history of this magazine.

She began tattooing since she was a teenager to be specific at 16 years old, under the tutelage of her father, and is credited with helping to keep alive batok, which is the art of hand-tapping tattoos with the use of a bamboo stick with a thorn dipped in coal and natural dye this tattooing style is so precious and spiritual in Apo’s tribe and she’s one of not so many people doing it.
The tattoos represent bravery for male warriors and beauty for women. The inking of designs was a symbol not only of identity and kinship, but also has a spiritual dimension, as the tattoos offer protection from angry spirits and a way to access to the afterlife and it’s the way to tell the story of the old ancestors.

Traditionally, the art can only be passed down to blood relatives, so Apo has been training her grand-nieces Elyang Wigan and Grace Palicas for several years in order to keep the practice alive. However, she plans to continue tattooing for as long as her sight allows.
She’s so adorable and professional and we’d love to see her art more often.