Michelle Dee of the Philippines honored tattoo legend Apo Whang-Od during the coronation night of Miss Universe 2023 held on Nov. 19.
The 28-year-old Sparkle Management artist wore a Mark Bumgarner dress that pays tribute to the 106-year-old Filipina icon.
"A tribute to a legendary Filipina who has become an icon, preserving the rich cultural heritage of indigenous tattoo art. She has achieved global recognition and symbolizes timeless beauty, coinciding with Miss Universe lifting its age restrictions, championing inclusivity and challenging age stereotypes," she wrote in her post.
"A true icon and the last of her kind, a symbol of bravery, beauty, and inclusivity… Whang Od," Michelle added.
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Mark, for his part, said that the dress "was made with love and pride."
"We may have not advanced but working with you has been one of the highlights of my career. You brought pride to us all. We wanted to show the world how vibrant our culture is, and I think we did," he wrote.
Michelle concluded her Miss Universe journey, finishing in the Top 10. Although Michelle did not clinch the Miss Universe crown, her remarkable journey culminated in two special awards: the coveted Gold in the "Voice for Change" category and the "Spirit of Carnival" award.
Whang-Od is the oldest living mambabatok and is part of the Butbut people of the larger Kalinga ethnic group. She is known for hand-tapping tattoos, which she has been doing since the age of 15.