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A Fashion Investigation Into… Zombie Boy

Meet Rick Genest. He’s a successful model, on the runway and in magazines. Read his story here!


For many, Rick Genest (aka Rico the Zombie or Zombie Boy) may contradict the fashion world completely. In an industry focused on physical beauty and perfection, it goes against convention for Genest to be a model. Years ago, the mere thought would send fashion houses into hysterics. Yet in the 21st century, Zombie Boy is a successful and accepted fashion model.

Many fashion labels may still be doubting of Genest’s career choice, but since being head-hunted by Nicola Formichetti, Lady Gaga’s stylist and creative director of Mugler fashion house, his career in fashion has rocketed.

rick genest

Formichetti came across Genest on the web, and became fascinated with the him. In early 2011, he flew to Montreal to meet the 28-year-old and completed a photo and video shoot for Thierry Mugler’s fall 2011 campaign. He then invited Rico to travel to Paris and model for Mugler’s mens fashion show.

Being Genest’s mentor of sorts, Formichetti guided him through the beginning of his fashion career, landing him in his biggest role to date: a cameo appearance in Lady Gaga’sBorn This Way‘ video. It became one of the fastest selling singles in music history with 1,000,000 copies sold, just days after its release.

The full video (above), shows Genest acting as ‘evil’ as he is, quite literally, born of Mama Monster’s loins. He continues to be featured throughout the video, as Gaga imitates his tattoos and the pair act as unconventional mother and son combo.

In March 2011, Rico returned to Paris to appear alongisde Gaga in Mugler’s womens fashion show. He was also introduced to photographer Steven Klein, who went on to shoot the model for the 2011 Spring Edition of Arena Hommes Plus. It comes as no doubt that Formichetti boosted Genest’s career, as he was then featured in GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue Hommes Japan.

October 2011 saw Genest become the pitchman for L’Oreal’s ‘Dermabland’, a cosmetic concealer that’s advert was one of the most successful on-line campaigns of that year. The advert (above), attracted more than 16 million views on YouTube and led to Genest being contracted as the first male spokesperson for L’Oreal.

Since then, Rick’s controversial brand as ‘Zombie Boy’ has grown incredibly, with him modeling for fashion runways in Paris, Milan, New York and Berlin, among many others. He has also appeared at the Cannes Film Festival and made guest appearances on Austria & Germany’s ‘Next Top Model’ shows with Heidi Klum. In September 2012, he also became the face of Jay-Z’s iconic fashion label, Rocawear, for its re-launch in Europe.

It definitely seems as though Rick Genest has defied convention, and many critics, and created a career in the fashion industry like no other has done before. If you are a fan, or not, you cannot deny Rick’s success, and to us (and no doubt many others), it is liberating just to know his story.

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