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Rick Genest | Rico the Zombie

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I adore being a freak, says Lady Gaga's favourite corpse

16 Feb
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A rough-sleeper turned avant-garde model whose top-to-toe tattoos have been copied by Lady Gaga today declared he enjoys being a freak.

Rick Genest, 26, began his dramatic transformation into Rico the Zombie, complete with tattoos on the theme of a rotting corpse, after surviving a brain tumour that could have killed him.

But speaking to the Standard's new Deluxe magazine, Genest insisted he remained the same inside.

"It's not a mask to stop the world from getting in. It's like styling your hair," he said.

"Everyone has a different idea of what is beautiful. It's not as if it's a real corpse. It's art. I like being a freak."

Although he now models for haute couture house Thierry Mugler, Genest grew up in Quebec and lived on the streets after a brush with death at 15.

He spent five years sleeping rough and washing cars and had his first face tattoo at 21, beginning a process of total coverage.

His fortunes changed when he was discovered by Nicola Formichetti, the creative director who works with Lady Gaga.

She later opened a concert with her face made up like Genest's with skull and blackened eye sockets.

"I always wanted to ... have my very own freak show ... It is my revenge on the world," says Genest.

By Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent



  • Kara
    Kara Comment Link 16 June 2012

    How gorgeous are you ! Inside & out.what I'd give to photograph you xx

  • candace
    candace Comment Link 05 June 2012

    Love everything about ur tats Rico, well except for the roaches crawling down inside ur pants. ;)

  • Manon
    Manon Comment Link 12 May 2012

    I love you man.

  • Rush
    Rush Comment Link 10 March 2012

    26 yo with a brain of 16... quite pathetic.Respect to the tattoo master though!

  • Rush
    Rush Comment Link 10 March 2012

    26 yo with a brain of 16... quite pathetic. Tattoo master was good though!

  • Mariya
    Mariya Comment Link 18 February 2012

    The greatest revenge on the world..... is showing that it doesn't control what makes you happy.

  • Liceh
    Liceh Comment Link 18 February 2012

    oh my good.. i can't die without kiss him! RICO, KISS ME!

  • Jennifer Zabala
    Jennifer Zabala Comment Link 17 February 2012

    so lovely boy!
    your time has come; enjoy it a lot 'cause it's your reward after 5 years and much pain on whole body.

  • Sandra
    Sandra Comment Link 17 February 2012


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