Apo Whang-Od’s story births a new era, not just for her people, but for the world.
With the shift in conversation over recent years, it’s clear that the conversation around the importance of representation has never been more crucial. The release of the April 2023 issue of Vogue Philippines, which features the famed 106-year-old mambabatok Apo Whang-Od, sparked this discussion on a global scale.
Not only was the tattoo artist revered as the current oldest cover star in any Vogue magazine, but also one of just several indigenous members represented.
Among dozens of local and international media outlets, the story was picked up by CNN, Vanity Fair, and Inked Mag to name a few.
Celebrities and fashion icons like Bretman Rock, Jo Koy, Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Gigi Hadid were quick to share the story or comment their support and love. The decision to forgo common fashion publication templates and include someone whose cultural impact has spanned beyond metrics hopefully marks a new era in the industry.
Beyond mere style and beauty standards, it’s clear that audiences around the world crave stories.
Apo Whang-Od’s narrative speaks not just to her individual history, but to the upkeep of a thousand-year-old tradition. Thanks to the rise in tourism and the popularity of her artistry, a new generation of eager artists are ready to take up her mantle and pass on the mark of the Kalinga region and its people.
Karla Martinez de Salas