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Global heartthrob. Bradford boy. Reluctant role model. But who is the real Zayn? Read @gileshattersley’s interview in the December issue of #BritishVogue, hitting newsstands on Friday. Click the link in bio to read a preview from the interview. @zayn photographed by @scotttrindle, styled by @clarerichardson1 and grooming by @joannasimkin.
I’ve gone through a lot of different phases with how I feel about Zayn Malik, from thinking he was a little sh-t, to thinking he was the next big solo artist, to thinking that he’s on drugs, to thinking that on a fundamental level, every single person who became famous in their teen years is going to be a screwed up adult. That’s where I think I am with Zayn now – there was so much promise, and it’s been largely unfulfilled. I understand that he has anxiety and he’s a moody bastard, and that One Direction messed with his head in a lot of different ways. Do I still believe in Zayn? I don’t know. Do you still believe in him? Zayn has an interview in the latest issue of British Vogue, and the first excerpts are not great:
On the One Direction days: “We went from theatres, to arenas, to stadiums – there was never any sort of bridge between. Just boom, boom, boom. I guess that kind of progression to any mind – but especially when you’re 17, 18 – it kind of affects you a little bit. People take it different ways – especially when there are five different personalities. The relationships had broken apart.”
He doesn’t call any One Direction dude a friend: Zayn says he came away from his five years in One Direction without having made a single friend. “Yeah, I have always been a bit like that, though – always a bit of an island. I don’t like to confer with too many people.” Does he see any of the band still? “Nah. I ain’t spoke to any of them for a long time, to be honest with you. That’s just the way it is. There’s things that happen and things that were said after I left… Snide things. Small things that I would never have expected.”
He lives “in semi-isolation in SoHo with Gigi Hadid.” “Everything is great,” he says of their relationship, which weathered a brief, but very public, split and reconciliation earlier this year. “She’s super-organised and I’m really not. It helps that she can get things together for me a little bit. I lean on her a lot.”
One Direction went on a permanent hiatus in January 2016, almost three full years ago. I think all of the other guys have managed to talk about the group with fondness, and they rarely engage in this kind of ax-grinding-in-every-interview like Zayn seems to do. Is that merely a function of Zayn’s very high profile, mostly because of his relationship with Gigi? Perhaps. Or maybe he’s still stuck back there, and he still has feelings about the way everything went down, where the rest of the guys don’t. I don’t know. I do know that I’m tired of Zayn still talking about something he proclaims to not care about.
As for this: “She’s super-organised and I’m really not. It helps that she can get things together for me a little bit. I lean on her a lot.” I think that’s probably true. I think Gigi is the “caretaker” of the relationship and Zayn is the “mess.” And that’s something that Gigi will probably outgrow at some point too, this whole thing of “he’s misunderstood/helpless without me, he needs me to take care of him!” Those couples bug.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, British Vogue.