Rick Genest, the tattooed model also known as Zombie Boy who rose to prominence after his appearance in Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ video, has died. The star was 32 at the time of his suicide. The model, who was known for his iconic look, was eulogized by those who have worked with him, including Lady Gaga, who remembered the star in a post and a Tweet emphasizing the importance of mental health care.
Genest was known for bone and organ tattoos covering his body, and had previously modeled for Thierry Mugler and Jay-Z’s Rocawear label.
Genest talked about how wanting to look different was a lifelong goal of his, he wrote The Irish Mirror in 2016: “Even from age five I used to spend any pennies I had on bubble gum that came with transfer tattoos and stick them up my arms. I’ve always wanted to look different”, and cited a brain tumor as the reason towards his decision to go into the bizzare, saying:
Aged 15, I found out I had a brain tumour. I was told I could die or be left disfigured; I guess this spiralled me into becoming obsessed with the morbid and macabre. As it happened, the operation to remove the tumour went without a hitch, but since then, I’ve known life was too short to not fulfil my dreams of tattoos and body modifications.
The entire article, which can be found here gave us a look into what made Genest special and into his fantastic sense of humor, as the article includes such choice quotes as: I was about to turn 21 and I realised I had to become an adult and start making more mature decisions, so I just got a skull tattooed on my face.
A fantastic video of Genest telling his story can be seen in his Ted Talk video here:
Rick Genest, aka Zombie Boy, has been eulogized on Twitter, including by the official Twitter account for Canada:
So sad. He was a really sweet guy! RIP 💀#zombieboy https://t.co/ULxYh2xntP
— Elvira (@TheRealElvira) August 3, 2018
rest in peace rick genest, zombie boy. thank you for inspiring me to be my true self and not worry about standing out. everyone please check in on your friends and family mental illness is not a joke. too many beautiful souls being taken from us too soon. pic.twitter.com/g1vwA7vywp
— Aaron Wiseman (@awfficial) August 3, 2018
Genest will be remembered for his desire to be an iconoclast, carving his own path, and working as an inspiration to anyone who wants to do the same.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, they should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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