August 7, 1985 |
LaSalle, Quebec, Canada
|Field||body art, freakshow performer body modification
fashion modelling, film acting
Before he had any tattoos, Genest was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and told his chances of surviving surgery were slim. The invasive surgery was laser surgery through the palate of the mouth. Genest was on the waiting list for 6 months, where he contemplated his own life and possible death. He chose to embrace life and live day to day. He survived the surgery with minimal complications.
Leaving his house one day, Genest went for a walk and decided to live downtown, on rooftops or under bridges. Hitchhiking became his main method of transportation. According to his video, he started living "an anarchistic lifestyle". He claims to have already been introduced to punk rock, the punk scene and freak shows before his decision to tattoo himself.
||This section appears to be written like an advertisement. (December 2012)|
Tattooed as a living skeleton, Rico the Zombie also worked in various sideshows and freakshows across Canada as an illustrated man, fakir, geek, as well as self declared clown. Not long after beginning his facial tattoos, Rico was first introduced to the public on November 13, 2006 in a blog post by Shannon Larratt on BME's ModBlog, which was followed in March 2008 by his first interview, by which time his iconic tattoos were largely completed. In this interview Rick clarified that he preferred the moniker "Zombie" to "Skullboy", as BME had been referring to him. The introductions on RzyM's Channel led to increasingly mainstream media coverage, notably a June 2008 feature in 'Bizarre' magazine. In the 2009 made for TV movie "Carny", starring Lou Diamond Philips as a small town sheriff, Rico was seen as a Tattooed Man at the Carnival. Following, he was again discovered by Marc Quinn, in Bromont, Quebec, where Rico was working the sideshow at Carnival Lune Blue (Executive Producer and Founder, Wayne Van De Graaff) during the summer 2010.
On March 5, 2010, a Facebook fan page was created about Genest's unusual choice of tattoos. This page reached 1,526,292 members (as of November 19, 2011) and ultimately led to his discovery by Lady Gaga's fashion director Nicola Formichetti.
On January 19, 2011, Rico was featured in the new Thierry Mugler Autumn/Winter men's collection, headlining it on the brand's website, after his discovery by Formichetti, also Mugler's creative director. It was Rico's discovery and Gaga's urging which actually resulted in the menswear show, something not originally planned. His discovery also influenced Formichetti on the collection itself. The show was accompanied by a video featuring Rico shot by fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco. He later featured alongside Lady Gaga in the fashion show for the women's 2011 Autumn/Winter line.
Rico can be seen styled in Mugler by Formichetti and shot by Mariano Vivanco in the sixth volume of Vogue Hommes Japan, the editorial being titled "Hard To Be Passive". In the Spring/Summer issue of GQ Style (UK), Formichetti and he are interviewed, with Rico shot in Mugler by Karim Sadli for the editorial.
In late 2011, Rico became part of a campaign entitled "Go Beyond the Cover", promoting Dermablend professional makeup products, appearing in a video where a makeup team covered all the tattoos on his head, torso, arms, and part of his back in its concealer product. The advert then shows him sitting with the phrase "How do you judge a book?". He then proceeds to remove portions of the makeup, starting with a section of his chest to reveal the tattoo underneath, continuing to his face. The video then shows the process of applying the cover up played backwards. The commercial success of this campaign led to a 2-year endorsement contract with L'Oreal for Rico, who became its first ever male spokesperson.
Zombie Boy also appeared in the music video of the Polish pop singer Honey. The video for her song "Sabotage" was released on 19 Jan 2012.
For the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, the Tonner Doll Company produced "Zombie Boy", a limited edition character figure in Rico's likeness. He was Tonner's guest at the convention as well. Included with each doll is a certificate of authenticity signed by Genest (as "Rico the Zombie"). The edition was limited to 400 dolls, all of which were sold as of July 27, 2012.
Rico recently collaborated with British solo artist KAV on the single "Dirty Rejects" released May 21, 2013. They spent the first part of 2013 recording an album project in Los Angeles. Due for launch later in the year.
- Unmasked, the tattooed freak who's become Lady Gaga's new best friend (but it turns out he's really a mummy's boy), Fiona Roberts (Daily Mail). March 11, 2011.
- You call yourself a Misfits fan?, November 13, 2006
- Zombie: Living Dead Art March 18, 2008
- "I bet this guy will regret getting this tattoo once he's older!!". Page. Facebook. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti makes Mugler debut, Olivia Bergin (The Daily Telegraph). January 20, 2011.
- Mugler @ Paris Menswear A/W 11, Alex Fury (SHOWstudio.com). January 19, 2011.
- Paris Fashion Week: Mugler menswear is reborn, and Lady Gaga is the midwife, Adam Tschorn (Los Angeles Times). January 19, 2011.
- Rethinking the Mugler Man, Cathy Horyn, (The New York Times). January 19, 2011.
- The Incredible But True Story of How Nicola Formichetti Got Zombie Boy to Model in Mugler, Interview by Lee Carter (Hint Fashion Magazine). March 20, 2011.
- Mugler Highlights: Gaga, Gaga's Pigtails, Precarious Footwear, and More Gaga, Amy Odell (The Cut / New York). March 2, 2011.
- Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' Video Premiers, Jillian Mapes (Billboard). February 28, 2011.
- "Hard To Be Passive", Vogue Hommes Japan VOL. 6, Photography by Mariano Vivanco and fashion by Nicola Formichetti. 2011.
- Hommes Japan #6 – Rick Genest Modeling a Mugler Special for Formichetti with photos by Mariano Vivanco, Gradient Magazine. 2011.
- GQ Style presents Nicola Formichetti, Andy Morris (GQ Style). March 15, 2011. Interview (inaccessible) by Sarah Hay.
- "Zombie Boy transformed – temporarily". The Constant Shopper Blog. The Montreal Gazette. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.