Oh, this is very sad. Montreal model and artist Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy, has died of apparent suicide. He was 32.
Genest first gained international fame after appearing in Lady Gaga‘s music video for the song Born This Way (watch below). He went on to model extensively.
On January 19, 2011, Genest was featured in the new Thierry MuglerAutumn/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 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.
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 19 January 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 400 dolls, all of which were sold as of July 27, 2012.
He held a Guinness World Record for most insect tattoos (176) and another for most human bone tattoos (139).
Police sources told Radio-Canada that Genest died in Montreal’s Plateau–Mont Royal borough around 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, call National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255