by Andrew Mundy | W. Coast Editor
Just about everyone has seen Rick Genest, the real life zombie of ink and flesh. Seriously, he’s a viral web sensation and, more recently, a fashion runway phenomenon. He’s even in Lady Gaga’s latest music video “Born This Way.” Who is this guy and, honestly, what exactly is going on here? Did he plan all of this, or is this guy just fucking nuts?
Rick Genest, or Rico, was a typical gutter punk from Montreal. Apparently a sweet boy, according to his mother, Rico left home after high school and waited to get his first tattoo until he was 16 out of respect for his parents. How darling.
His first step to extreme zombie makeover started with his hands. Like skeletal gloves, just a tad bit more permanent.
“They say that once you get your hands tattooed it’s harder to find a job,” Rico, now 25, said in an interview with Bizarre Magazine.
Yeah, no shit Rico. Those permanent skeletal gloves ignited a $15,000 frenzy of constant tattoos funded by a job working in the circus while homeless. Times were tough for Rico, but this truly was his passion.
“They’ve been a part of me forever – before I even got them done. They reveal how I feel on the inside,” he said.
Nicola Formichetti, the new creative director of Mugler, apparently discovered a photo of Rico on Google and was intrigued by the inked anomaly. When Formichetti went in for his first tattoo, he was told that the guy in the photo was actually Rick Genest aka Zombie Boy from Montreal. Suddenly inspired by the revelation, he went home later that day and actually contacted Zombie Boy through Facebook.
When asked if he’d like to go to Paris for Mugler’s fashion run, Zombie Boy responded, “Yeah, sure, I would love to, but I don’t have a passport.” Not to mention Rico racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fines for sleeping on the street while homeless.
Beyond frustrated, Formichetti contacted his lawyers to figure out how to get his new biffle a passport in time for the show. A trip to Montreal and couple days later, Zombie Boy was headed to Paris.
“I remember thinking I have to do this, I just have a gut feeling, I have to work with this guy,” Formichetti said in an interview with Hint. “Everyone said he’s a freak, why would I want to do that to a luxury brand?”
Now the face of Mugler’s new men’s line, Lady Gaga’s latest muse, and on-top of the world, Zombie Boy is living the good life. With plans to tattoo his eyes black and remove his ears and nose, we’ll see how far he’s able to go. Chances are, ain’t no grave gonna hold him down.