Rick Genest

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Rick Genest
Rick Genest in Nicola Formichetti's pop-up shop, Tribeca, September 17, 2011
Born Rick Genest
(1985-08-07) August 7, 1985 (age 30)
Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Other names Zombie Boy
Rico Zombie
Rico the Zombie
Occupation actor, freakshow performer, fashion model
Years active 2009–present
Website rickgenest.com

Rick Genest (born August 7, 1985) is a Canadian artist, actor, and fashion model born in Châteauguay, Quebec. He is also known as Zombie Boy for the corpse tattoos covering the majority of his body.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Before he had any tattoos, Genest was diagnosed with a brain tumor.[2] Genest was on the waiting list for six months, where he contemplated his own life and possible death, before undergoing the surgery with minimal complications.[3]

Leaving his house one day, Genest went for a walk and decided to live downtown, on rooftops and in dumpsters 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.


Tattooed as a living skeleton, Genest also worked in various sideshows and freakshows across Canada as an illustrated man. Not long after beginning his facial tattoos, Genest was first introduced to the public on November 13, 2006 in a blog post by Shannon Larratt on BME's ModBlog,[4] which was followed in March 2008 by his first interview,[5] by which time his iconic tattoos were largely completed. In this interview Genest 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 Phillips as a small town sheriff, Genest was seen as a Tattooed Man at the Carnival. Following, he was again discovered by Marc Quinn, in Bromont, Quebec, where Genest was working the sideshow at Carnival Lune Blue during the Summer of 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.[6]

On January 19, 2011, Genest 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.[7][8][9][10] It was Genest's discovery and Gaga's urging which resulted in the menswear show, something not originally planned.[11] His discovery also influenced Formichetti on the collection itself.[11] The show was accompanied by a video featuring Genest, shot by fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco.[8] He later featured alongside Lady Gaga in the fashion show for the women's 2011 Autumn/Winter line.[12]

On February 27, 2011, Genest was featured in Lady Gaga's video for "Born This Way", with Lady Gaga wearing makeup to replicate Genest's tattoos.[13] Genest was featured in the sixth volume of Vogue Hommes Japan in an editorial titled "Hard To Be Passive".[14] In the Summer issue of GQ Style (UK), Formichetti and he are interviewed, with Genest shot in Mugler by Karim Sadli for the editorial.[15]

In late 2011, Genest was featured in 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.[16] The commercial success of this campaign led to a 2-year endorsement contract with L'Oreal for Genest, who became its first ever male spokesperson. Genest 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 Genest'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.

In September 2012, Genest became the face of the Jay-Z music fashion label Roc-A-Wear for its re-launch in Europe.

He was cast as the character "foreman" in the film 47 Ronin, which was released in late 2013.[17] The big-budget samurai fantasy-action film stars Keanu Reeves. Genest was heavily featured in the marketing for the film, appearing on posters and in trailers.

Genest 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 and a video titled "Monsters Versus the World" in Los Angeles. The project has been discontinued.

As of January 2015, Genest is working with Riggs, ex-Rob Zombie guitarist, on an upcoming collaborative album.[18]


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Carny Carny
2013 Aquario Zombie Boy Short
2013 47 Ronin Foreman[19]
In Faustian Fashion Phoenix
  • also executive producer
  • Short
2014 Love at Last Sight Zombie Boy
  • Official Selection Montreal World Film Festival
  • Short


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Entrevue exclusive avec Zombie Boy". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "A Powerful and Intimate Interview with Rico Zombie". Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  4. ^ You call yourself a Misfits fan?, November 13, 2006
  5. ^ Zombie: Living Dead Art March 18, 2008
  6. ^ Andy. "I bet this guy will regret getting this tattoo once he's older!!". Facebook. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti makes Mugler debut, Olivia Bergin (The Daily Telegraph). January 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Mugler @ Paris Menswear A/W 11, Alex Fury (SHOWstudio.com). January 19, 2011.
  9. ^ Paris Fashion Week: Mugler menswear is reborn, and Lady Gaga is the midwife, Adam Tschorn (Los Angeles Times). January 19, 2011.
  10. ^ Rethinking the Mugler Man, Cathy Horyn, (The New York Times). January 19, 2011.
  11. ^ a b 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.
  12. ^ Mugler Highlights: Gaga, Gaga's Pigtails, Precarious Footwear, and More Gaga, Amy Odell (The Cut / New York). March 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' Video Premiers, Jillian Mapes (Billboard). February 28, 2011.
  14. ^ "Hard To Be Passive", Vogue Hommes Japan VOL. 6, Photography by Mariano Vivanco and fashion by Nicola Formichetti. 2011.
  15. ^ GQ Style presents Nicola Formichetti, Andy Morris (GQ Style). March 15, 2011. Interview (inaccessible) by Sarah Hay.
  16. ^ "Zombie Boy transformed – temporarily". The Constant Shopper Blog. The Montreal Gazette. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Film Credits
  18. ^ http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3329034/zombie-boy-zombie-boy-666-medley-lyric-video-premiere-exclusive/
  19. ^ Film Credits

External links[edit]