Rick Genest

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Zombie Boy
Born Rick Genest
(1985-08-07) August 7, 1985 (age 32)
LaSalle, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Other names Zombie Boy
Rico the Zombie
Occupation actor, freakshow performer, fashion model
Years active 2009–present
Website rickgenest.com

Zombie Boy (born Rick Genest on August 7, 1985) is a Canadian artist, actor, and fashion model born in LaSalle, Quebec, so called for the corpse tattoos covering the majority of his body.[1] During his modeling career he has also promoted tattoo concealer.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Before he had any tattoos, Zombie Boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor.[3] Zombie Boy was on the waiting list for six months, where he contemplated his own life and possible death, before undergoing the surgery with minimal complications.[4]

Leaving his house one day, he 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.

Zombie Boy has spoken about always being into horror films, even since a young age, and always wanted to express himself through it; the sideshow also being influncial as well. As he grew up in Montréal, tattoos were very common within the culture. As he grew older, his tattoos grew, where he views his entire body as a one tattoo.


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,[5] which was followed in March 2008 by his first interview,[6] 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 with the sideshow, Alive on the Inside, at Carnivàle Lune Bleue 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.[7]

As a model[edit]

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.[8][9][10][11] It was Genest's involvement and Gaga's urging which resulted in the menswear show, something not originally planned.[12] His involvement also influenced Formichetti on the collection itself.[12] The show was accompanied by a video featuring Genest, shot by fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco.[9] He later featured alongside Lady Gaga in the fashion show for the women's 2011 Autumn/Winter line.[13]

On February 27, 2011, with lawyer Colin Singer becoming his manager,[14] Genest was featured in Lady Gaga's video for "Born This Way", with Lady Gaga wearing makeup to replicate Genest's tattoos.[15] Genest was featured in the sixth volume of Vogue Hommes Japan in an editorial titled "Hard To Be Passive".[16] In the Summer issue of GQ Style (UK), Formichetti and he are interviewed, with Genest shot in Mugler by Karim Sadli for the editorial.[17]

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.[18] 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 January 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.

As an actor and musician[edit]

He was cast as the character "foreman" in the box office flop film 47 Ronin, which was released in late 2013.[19] The big-budget samurai fantasy-action film starred Keanu Reeves. Genest was heavily featured in the marketing for the film, appearing on posters and in trailers; however, due to various post-process tensions, stemming from the 2011 version of them film in which Universal executives wanted Reeves to become a more integral part of the film, Genest was heavily edited out of the final version.[20]

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 was discontinued.

As of January 2015, Genest is working with Riggs, ex-Rob Zombie guitarist, on an upcoming collaborative album. On the horror news site Bloody Disgusting, a “Zombie Boy 666 Medley” video was released featuring samples of six songs to be on the upcoming album.[21]

In June 2017, as part of the TEDx #DISRUPTyou, a video of Genest titled “Normal is an illusion” was released. His talk explores some of his life experinces and how he realized that normality is simply a cultural construct, “Normal is what you make it to be.”[22]

Planned to unveil in 2019, an 11.5-foot (3.5 m) sculture of Genest called “Self-Conscious Gene” will be a new permanent fixture at the Science Museum, London, UK. The statue is to be created by British artist Marc Quinn.[23]


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Carny Carny
2013 Aquario Zombie Boy Short
47 Ronin Foreman A larger role was initially developed[19]
In Faustian Fashion Phoenix
  • also executive producer
  • Short
2014 Love at Last Sight Zombie Boy
  • Official Selection Montreal World Film Festival
  • Short
2017 Silent Witness El Buitre
  • BBC One TV Series
  • Series 20, Episode: Awakening Part 1 & Part 2


Year Album Song
TBA[21] TBA "That Terrible Song"
"Monster Inside"
"Monster Man"
"Yeah Bebe Yeah"
"Darkness Falls"


  1. ^ Roberts, Fiona (March 11, 2011). "Unmasked, the tattooed freak who's become Lady Gaga's new best friend (but it turns out he's really a mummy's boy)]". Daily Mail. London. 
  2. ^ "Zombie Boy demonstrates ultimate tattoo concealer". 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2017-10-17. 
  3. ^ "Entrevue exclusive avec Zombie Boy". Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "A Powerful and Intimate Interview with Rico Zombie". Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  5. ^ You call yourself a Misfits fan?, November 13, 2006
  6. ^ Zombie: Living Dead Art March 18, 2008
  7. ^ Andy. "I bet this guy will regret getting this tattoo once he's older!!". Facebook. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Bergin, Olivia (January 20, 2011). "Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti makes Mugler debut". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Fury, Alex (January 19, 2011). "Mugler @ Paris Menswear A/W 11]". SHOWstudio.com. 
  10. ^ Tschorn, Adam (January 19, 2011). "Paris Fashion Week: Mugler menswear is reborn, and Lady Gaga is the midwife". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ Horyn, Cathy (January 19, 2011). "Rethinking the Mugler Man". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ a b Carter, Lee (March 20, 2011). "The Incredible But True Story of How Nicola Formichetti Got Zombie Boy to Model in Mugler" (Interview). Hint Fashion Magazine. 
  13. ^ Odell, Amy (March 2, 2011). "Mugler Highlights: Gaga, Gaga's Pigtails, Precarious Footwear, and More Gaga". The Cut / New York. 
  14. ^ Scene360. "An Interview with the Extremely Tattooed Zombie Boy". Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  15. ^ Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' Video Premiers, Jillian Mapes (Billboard). February 28, 2011.
  16. ^ "Hard To Be Passive", Vogue Hommes Japan VOL. 6 Archived 2012-07-08 at Archive.is, Photography by Mariano Vivanco and fashion by Nicola Formichetti. 2011.
  17. ^ Morris, Andy (March 15, 2011). "GQ Style presents Nicola Formichetti". GQ Style. Archived from the original (Interview (inaccessible) with Sarah Hay) on 2011-03-19. 
  18. ^ "Zombie Boy transformed – temporarily". The Constant Shopper Blog. The Montreal Gazette. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Film Credits
  20. ^ Setoodeh, /ramin; Foundas, Scott (2013-12-30). "'47 Ronin': The Inside Story of Universal's Samurai Disaster". Variety. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  21. ^ a b Barkan, Jonathan (22 January 2015). "Zombie Boy "Zombie Boy 666 Medley" Lyric Video Premiere (Exclusive)". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 15 May 2018. 
  22. ^ https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7N9oUiGhLY
  23. ^ Treviño, Julissa (2018-03-15). "Sculpture of 'Zombie Boy' Fleshes Out London's Science Museum". www.smithsonianmag.com. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 

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