He grew up in the punk rock music scene of Montreal Canada, living as a bum in abandon houses.
He worked as a “squeegee kid” on cars and later in carnivals and freakshow attractions-the latter is something he still has a passion for. “On the streets” he said, “no one really goes by first or last names.” Getting his zombie nickname tattooed at a young age is a little more meaningful than one might assume. At 15 Rick Genest had to have a brain tumor removed. He was not expected to survive and if he did living as a vegetable was the likeliest of possibilities. Originally doctors were going to open up Rico’s face to do the removal, but instead they went into his brain through the roof of his mouth, a very vivid zombie picture if I’ve ever heard one. Thanks to some grace from above, Rico not only survived but he defied the odds by making a full recovery. He is popularly known today as Zombie Boy, a name for someone who is living yet so close to death.
Zombie Boy has done multiple magazine covers such as Bizarre, as well as plenty of fashion campaigns. In 2012 he worked with Vogue. He’s also been involved with movies and was featured in a film with Keanu Reaves in all his tattooed glory. The walking skeleton we all know as Zombie Boy did not just happen overnight. Although, he has joked that the skeletal face he wears now is what he saw the morning after a rough night in Vegas. His body suit of bones has cost thousands of dollars, taken around six years to create and is still a work in progress. The one responsible for covering 80% of Rico’s body in ink is Canadian artist Frank Lewis.
In 2011 the noted skincare line Dermablend issued a ‘go beyond the cover’ campaign, posing the question how do do you judge a book? Performer/model Rick Genest enters the shot looks around, and then takes a seat. He removes his shirt and tosses it aside, leaving him with a serious yet slightly seductive stare and his signature nose piercings. The feel of anticipation builds as the 2 minute 53 second clock ticks down while There Is Hope by Zoo Brazil plays in the background. Genest keeps his intense glare as he scrubs his chest, revealing a previously camouflaged tattoo. Of course, the Dermablend body concealer was covering more than one little chest piece. Check out the amazing transformation here:
A few tubes of leg and body canceler along with three professional makeup artists transformed Zombie Boy back into the tattoo-less Rick Genest he hasn’t been since his early teens. Dermablend allows you to shop by skin condition. So it can be anything from blemishes or freckles, to scars or Vitiligo.
Rick Genest's career took off when he was discovered via Facebook by fashion designer, Nicola Formichetti who works with Lady Gaga. He wanted Rico and all his tattoos to model in a fashion show but Rico couldn't acquire a passport. Formichetti paid Genest's debt to society and flew him to Paris. In 2011 Zombie Boy walked the runway for Mugler.