Genest in 2011
|Died||August 1, 2018 (aged 32)|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Other names||Zombie Boy|
Rico the Zombie
|Occupation||Actor, freakshow performer, fashion model|
Genest was born in Châteauguay, Quebec. Before he had any tattoos, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was on the surgery waitlist for six months, during which he contemplated his own life and possible death, before undergoing the surgery with minimal complications.
Tattooed as a living skeleton, Genest also worked in various sideshows and freak shows 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 on BME's ModBlog, which was followed in March 2008 by his first interview, by which time his 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 television film 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 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. It was Genest's involvement and Lady Gaga's urging which resulted in the menswear show, something not originally planned. His involvement also influenced Formichetti on the collection itself. The show was accompanied by a video featuring Genest, shot by fashion photographer Mariano Vivanco. He later featured alongside Lady Gaga in the fashion show for the women's 2011 Autumn/Winter line.
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. Genest was featured in the sixth volume of Vogue Hommes Japan in an editorial titled "Hard To Be Passive". In the Summer issue of GQ Style (UK), Formichetti and he are interviewed, with Genest shot in Mugler by Karim Sadli for the editorial.
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. 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 January 19, 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 500 dolls, all of which were sold as of July 27, 2012.
He was cast as the character "foreman" in the 2013 film 47 Ronin, featuring Keanu Reeves. Genest was 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 the film in which Universal executives wanted Reeves to become a more integral part of the film, Genest was largely edited out of the final version.
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 was working with Riggs, ex-Rob Zombie guitarist, on an upcoming album. Zombie Boy music featuring Riggs. 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.
Planned to be unveiled in 2019, an 11.5-foot (3.5 m) sculpture 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.
On August 1, 2018, Genest was found dead after a fall from the balcony at his Plateau-Mont-Royal apartment. A police source told CBC it was a suicide. Some relatives and friends believe it was an accident. He left no suicide note, and his autopsy found no trace of drugs. His manager, of a similar height, noted the balcony railing ends below his hips.
|47 Ronin||Foreman||A larger role was initially developed|
|In Faustian Fashion||Phoenix|
|2014||Love at Last Sight||Zombie Boy|
|2017||Silent Witness||El Buitre|
|TBA||TBA||"That Terrible Song"|
|"Yeah Bebe Yeah"|