Zombie Boy

facebook twitter feed

Tattooed Zombie Becomes Fashion Model and Lady Gaga's Co-Star

07 Apr
Rate this item
(16 votes)

Getting tattooed to look like a cadaverous zombie was the best career decision Rick Genest ever made.


Yeah, there were some people who thought Genest was crazy 10 years ago when he made the fateful decision to tattoo his entire body to look like a cadaver.

To be fair, many of those same people probably haven't changed their minds about whether it was a wise decision for Genest to make his outsides look like his insides.


In fact, a year ago, someone created a Facebook fan page called "I bet this guy will regret getting this tattoo once he's older!!"

However, a lot can happen in a year.

Ironically, that page, which was set up to make fun of Genest, led to his being discovered by Nicola Formichetti, the creative director for fashion designer Thierry Mugler and a frequent collaborator with Lady Gaga.

As a result, Genest now has proof that his unique look has paid off in tangible ways. Not only was he featured in the new Thierry Mugler Autumn/Winter men's collection when it debuted in Paris in January, but Gaga hired Genest to appear prominently in her "Born This Way" video.

"It's proof of the power of the Internet," Genest told AOL News.

Now he's got a whole bunch of offers from Italian television; a film role in "Ronin 47," a Keanu Reeves movie set for release at the end of 2012 ("If the world doesn't end," he jokes); and other major fashion shows.

Not bad, considering he had no ambition other than to be a zombie when he first tattooed his hands to look like skeletons a decade ago. In fact, he never imagined that lifestyle choice would lead him to where he is now.

"I didn't see [the modeling job] coming," Genest said. "But I'm grateful. It's been a fun trip."

Genest doesn't see himself as the traditional model or as a traditional role model, either.

Then again, most models -- or role models -- haven't thought about having their ears removed, a goal he once confessed to Bizarre magazine.

Tattooed Zombie And Becomes Fashion Model and Lady Gaga's Co-Star,

Still, he thinks his story does have value to the next generation of kids, whether they choose to look like zombies or not.

"You gotta do what you love or else you'll be doing something you hate. I wish everyone would do what they love," he said, quickly adding, "But don't take drugs."

Genest's decision to treat his body as a living, breathing canvas made him a kindred spirit to Lady Gaga, who befriended him when they filmed the "Born This Way" video earlier this year.

Although both Genest and Gaga have tattoos, what really made their friendship stick was bubble gum, specifically Bazooka Joe.

"Gaga asked me what made me consider getting tattooed the first time," Genest said. "I just started pulling s--- out of my a-- and told her when I was young, I liked to eat Bazooka Joe and stick the temporary tattoos on my body.

"She laughed and, later that day, she had everyone chewing Bazooka Joe gum."

But while Genest is reportedly getting lots of interest as a model, folks in the industry have mixed opinions on whether he can be the next Fabio or even Derek Zoolander.

Professional model Christina DeHart, who runs ExploreModeling.com, a website that helps young models and their parents navigate the modeling industry, says Genest's look, while unique, may have a limited shelf life.

"The fashion industry loves things that are unique, and Rick Genest definitely is uncommon," DeHart said. "As far as long-term modeling success, I am not so sure about his opportunities there.

"When modeling, you are asked to take on a new character or vision for each designer. The model tells the designer's story. Rick Genest is already a complete statement without a lot of room for another's vision. Not to say that he won't ride a wave after Thierry Mugler. I just don't see a longstanding career."

Bruce Lemler, a former model and booker at top New York City modeling agencies who now does photography, is slightly less diplomatic.

"Genest was used by Thierry Mugler because, to put it bluntly, he's a freak," Lemler said.

"Being a freak got him to Lady Gaga and Mugler, but he's their freak. He's been used."

Lemler figures anyone else who wants "a freak" wants their own freak, associated only with their brand.

"After this, he's old news," Lemler said. "He may get campaigns for B-level clients, acting as parasites on his current fame as a freak, but that type of fame dies quickly."

Lemler says Genest could theoretically be a decent model if he covered up the ink, but he says the cost of a good makeup artist -- or even a good Photoshopper -- is "an unnecessary expense when models as good as, or better-looking, than Genest are available."

On the other hand, celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz sees Genest as an outlier for future fashion models.

"In Genest, we are seeing a new generation of cutting-edge models whose confidence and intrinsic artistry raises the bar for the entire industry," Ruiz said. "He's here for the long haul."

That may be the case, but Genest is eager to prove he's more than just a handsome face covered by tattoos designed to make him look like a half-dissected corpse.

For instance, he's well-trained in the carnival arts and is a major force in Lucifer's Blasphemous Mad Macabre Torture Carnival, a contemporary side show.

"I do fire eating, lie on beds of nails, do geek stuff like eating brains and worms, and I can do the blockhead bit," Genest said.

But Genest's manager, Colin Singer, who also worked as his immigration lawyer when he needed help getting to France for the Mugler show, believes his client is selling himself short.

"I think he's being a little humble here," Singer said. "He's an impresario and a director. He creates themes and directs up to 10 people."

Singer sees Genest as a star and believes the coming months will see his tattoo-covered star rise to new heights.

"We've signed contracts with European TV," Singer said. "He'll be doing a show in Italy, and he's auditioning for small acting parts that are related to his character, plus lots of major fashion shows."

But Genest has a bigger personal goal: Completing the tattoos covering 80 percent of his body.

"It takes a lot of time," he said. "It's a hobby, but you can't do it all at once. It gets easier the more you do it, but it's like stubbing a toe. Every time you do it, it's going to hurt."

Source: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/07/tattooed-zombie-rick-genest-becomes-fashion-model-and-lady-gaga/


  • Comment Link More hints 15 September 2012 More hints

    Hey very interesting blog!

  • Comment Link Regina 01 September 2012 Regina

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing
    this article and the rest of the website is also very

  • Comment Link Súcubo 18 August 2012 Súcubo

    You're amazing!!!!! I love your work and I love YOU!!!!!!!

  • Comment Link Horseshoe bay Long term 16 August 2012 Horseshoe bay Long term

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of
    the issues. It was definitely informative.

    Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!

  • Comment Link Body Art 29 July 2012 Body Art

    Mimi has always been truly interested in Body Art.
    Thx for the comment and carry on producing Tattooed Zombie Becomes Fashion Model and Lady Gaga's Co-Star reviews.

  • This guy is truly amazing, such an inspiration. Marry me please ;)

  • Comment Link TattoedVanny 03 May 2012 TattoedVanny

    u r something of legendary...

  • Comment Link Steff 01 March 2012 Steff

    My best friend showed my Lady Gaga's "Born this way" video and he caught my attention. His tattoos will be legendary. They are very influential to me, but I don't think I wanna become a zombie.

  • Comment Link Jazmyn 08 January 2012 Jazmyn

    I have been inspired by his work ever since my boyfriend showed me him doing a commercial for dermablend. I am an 18 year old black female violinist who has been playing for 15 years, and musc is my life. I want to use tattoos as my expression of my love for music because its always there no matter what and I love to see other people who express them selfs and the more different and exclusive it is the better. The even better part of it is, he did it for himself. No living person told him he should do it because it's cool, he didnt let anyone stop him, it was an idea and a want that he followed through with and it's inspiring. I am very different from people my age I haven't met anyone quite like me and people think im wierd and i love it! I love being different, and apreciating life's diverse features, its like a formula. Different parts of life and theworld create you.

  • Comment Link Kinga 06 January 2012 Kinga

    For me, Rick is terribly handsome man, his eyes are beautiful and bold tattoos but a terrible time ... know it would be a wonderful experience.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.