Having your own voice and style is really what most of us should have. But not all of us feel fearless to be completely ourselves. Artist, actor, fashion model Zombie Boy is exactly who he is, inside and out; his self-confidence and physical look has inspired and fascinated people worldwide.
More than 80% of his body has been tattooed to look like a zombie. Looking like a decomposed corpse is definitely different, but his uniqueness has led him on a successful path to appearing in Lady Gaga’s music video, “Born this Way,” walking the runway for fashion designer Thierry Mugler, becoming the face of Jay-Z’s Rocawear Europe clothing line and starring in several motion pictures.
Top: Raphaelle Bonin (also from Genest’s hometown of Montreal) did this photo shoot with the model.
Photographer Joey L. takes this shot for Rebel Ink magazine. View more pictures.
Why do you want to become a Zombie?
Zombie Boy: Ever since I could remember I’ve been enticed by punk rock culture. I wanted to excel in the arts and entertainment and the freak show genre. At age of 17, I was aliased by my peers as “Zombie” due to my interests in music, movies, apparel and my medical history.
Growing up as an urban teenager, this lifestyle was the origin of my bodysuit. In June 2008, Bizarre magazine was the first to dub me as “Zombieboy.” Then in January 2011, I was introduced to my current manager, Entertainment Lawyer Colin Singer of Montreal and from there things immediately started to take off! Together we developed the Zombieboy brand which takes on different personae depending on whether we are working on film, music, fashion or freak show performances.
You clearly stand out from the crowd. Are you amused by people’s reaction of you?
Well, as they say, birds of a feather flock together. Most of my cronies are heavily moded, so when I’m at home with my friends or hanging out at underground venues, this is not the case. It wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve stood out from the crowd and launched onto a new platform as a fashion player.
Creative director Nicola Formichetti invites Rick Genest to model in the Mugler menswear fashion show in 2013.
Who tattooed you?
Over the past 12 years, it is impossible to remember every name and detail. For the most part, over a course of 4 to 5 years, in my late teenage years and early 20s, Frank Lewis of Montreal, Canada, tattooed my head and torso coining my zombie-like appearance under my guidance and direction.
The tattoo industry has grown much over the years. Your thoughts about the popularity, and are there artists you particularly like?
I am very stoked seeing, greeting and meeting a vast variety of gravely tattooed dames and gents; tattoos and body mod has always flourished in the underground.
Do you follow any visual artists on the web?
I eat, breath, drink and bleed visual art; as well as the sonar arts.
You are a versatile person having been involved in circus, music, cinema, and fashion. Is there an artistic field you have yet to explore?
When life slows down, I would love to relax and take some time exploring hybrid taxidermy as well as skeletal hybrid art.
Genest does a guest appearance in Germany’s Next Top Model 2013.
What has it been like working in the fashion industry?
As in circus and acting, modeling shares the art of emotion posing and creative visualization as well as the art of altering environment and circumstances. This I love and feel very blessed to be able to work in such creative environments.
One of your recent movie appearances was in “47 Ronin” (2013; with Keanu Reeves). Are you going to be involved in more movie productions?
I love the arts. I wish and dream to excel in filmography. Recently, I had two short films appearing in major international film festivals. One of my short films in which my Manager and I are Executive Co-Producers, currently appears in the online film festival Viewster where fans can vote. The film also appeared at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
And aside from film, my current standing project is a self-financed music album, that consists of myself and my partner Riggs (of “Scum of the Earth” and former guitarist of “Rob Zombie”); that we are currently finalizing and aspire to launch in 2015.
Zombie Boy has the punk style locked in. Photo (originally published in WestEast magazine) © Colin Singer.
Do you have any horror film recommendations for the Illusion readers?
There are so many good ones in so many sub-genres… so I will leave you with one recommendation: “Martyrs” is a 2008 horror film written and directed by Pascal Laugher. (Warning: not for the squeamish!)
You mentioned liking gross stuff. Not sure if this is film or art related. What exactly?
To simplify, anything that flirts with the macabre.
You portrayed a circus zombie in “Carny,” but like an actual living-dead character… do you have future plans to become one in a movie?
In the movie “Carny,” I was the carnival’s illustrated man. I would enjoy an experience to act in a zombie movie.
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About Zombie Boy
Zombie Boy is a fully tattooed Guinness World Record award winning international celebrity artist and fashion model. At his core is a chiaroscuro of both light and dark—part gentle warrior, part anti-establishment artful dodger, who has serendipitously become the ‘it’ muse for anyone who believes in a brave new world without judgment.
Zombie Boy’s international thrust into the mainstream spotlight began with the legendary Paris based Mugler fashion label in January 2011 when he was casted by Creative Director Nicola Formichetti to become the face of its highly successful Men’s Wear re-launch.
He subsequently appeared in Lady Gaga’s video ‘Born This Way’ to compliment the fastest single in music history to reach sales of 1,000,000 copies, days after its release.
Zombie Boy is the face of Dermablend by L’Oreal, an industry acclaimed cosmetic concealer. The “Go Beyond the Cover” video featuring Zombie Boy, established industry standards and was among the most successful online marketing campaigns in 2012.
Recently, Zombie Boy collaborated with Universal Studios in its Christmas 2013 film release – “47Ronin” starring Keanu Reeves.
In addition to headlining international fashion shows, product catalogues and media editorials, Zombie Boy is concluding major projects in film and music recording.
Zombie Boy returns to his cannibal roots in Girls and Corpses Magazine Freaky Sumer Issue explains Girls and Corpses Deaditor-In-Chief, Corpsy, adding, "He was a joy to work with and only bit actress Kirby Bliss Blanton (Star of The Green Inferno) three times."
The Freaky Summer issue of Girls and Corpses Magazine is here!
A tribute to the 1932 movie Freaks
with an amazing sideshow cover featuring:
Zombie Boy, Michael Berryman, Butch Patrick,
Kirby Bliss Blanton and half-man Short E. Dangerously
PREVIEW NEW ISSUE and COVER HERE: http://www.girlsandcorpses.com/
STORE to ORDER: l
Girls and Corpses Magazine, known for outrageous horror/comedy and insane covers, have done it again with their best cover EVER! "I have always wanted to do a tribute to one of my favorite horror films, Freaks (1932) directed by Tod Browning (Frankenstein), explains Publisher/Deaditor-In-Chief Robert 'Corpsy" Rhine, adding, "We wanted to create the feel of 'Freaks' with all the sideshow performers, so we brought in horror icon MICHAEL BERRYMAN (The Hills Have Eyes), Tattooed Wonder ZOMBIE BOY (47 Ronin), KIRBY BLISS BLANTON (The Green Inferno) and BUTCH PATRICK (Eddie Munster). Finally, to represent the Amazing Johnny Eck from 'Freaks' we got real half-man SHORT E. DANGEROUSLY to do the famous one-handed handstand on our cover.
And... if that's not enough to freak you out, this freaky issue contains exclusive interviews with: ELI ROTH (The Green Inferno), NAOMI "PEPPER" GROSSMAN (American Horror Story), BILL OBERST JR (Circus Of The Dead), The Amazing LIZARDMAN, SON of LOBSTER BOY, CHANEL RYAN and CANDICE KITA (Circus of The Dead), BLOWFLY ('The Filthy Rapper') and Effects Wiz MARCUS KOCH. Also included are features on the SIDESHOW BABIES of Coney Island, DEATH CABARETS of Paris, behind-the-screams of the making of the classic 1932 film FREAKS and a photo shoot with a dead clown! Amateur Freak-of-The Month and more sick Last Laughs round out this special 'Freaks' Tribute issue.
TAGS: @GirlsNCorpses, #GirlsandCorpses #Horror #Sideshow #DarkcomedySideshows, Freaks, Tod Browning, Michael Berryman, Zombie Boy, Butch Patrick, Eddie Munster, The Munsters, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Short E. Dangerously, Johnny Eck, Bill Oberst Jr, Eli Roth, The Green Inferno, Robert Rhine, Corpsy, Lizardman, Lobster Boy, Naomi Grossman, Pepper, American Horror Story, Blowfly, The Elephant Man, Marcus Koch, Death Cabaret, Sideshow Babies, Circus of The Dead, Chanel Ryan, KBZ, Candace Kita, Girls and Corpses Magazine, Girls and Corpses, death comedy, horror, sick, death, sideshows, circus, freaky.
Canadian model Rick Genest, aka Rico the Zombie or Zombie Boy, has tattooed 80 percent of his body– including images of a human body as it decomposes into a corpse, replete with flesh-eating insects. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most bones tattooed on the body (134) and the most insects tattooed on the body (176). Needless to say he knows how to turn heads. He caught the eye of Lady Gaga (he was in her “Born This Way” music video – she wore makeup to replicate his tats) and Jay Z (he’s been the face of the Jay Z fashion labelRocawear in Europe). And he was the first ever male spokesperson for L’Oreal (he demonstrated the miracles of their Dermablend concealing makeup in a YouTube video which has been watched 15 million times).
With a public following to satisfy, Genest has launched his own lifestyle brand – Zombie Boy. From fashion (leather helmets, belts, boots) to home décor (black candles, curtains, bath towels), to perfume and energy drinks — fans can now dress, drink, smell and rest just like Zombie Boy. Everyone wants in on Zombie Boy paraphernalia. Celebrated doll artist Robert Tonner hand-painted Zombie Boy’s tattoos on a 17” tall porcelain doll (in time for the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con). The limited edition of 500 ($159.99 each) sold out.