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Zayn Malik Says Leaving One Direction 'Didn't Feel Brave'

Zayn Malik Says Leaving One Direction 'Didn't Feel Brave'

Zayn Malik puts his tattoos on display for the September 2016 cover of Elle UK magazine.

Here’s what the 23-year-old singer had to share with the mag:

On leaving One Direction: “At that time in my life I felt I had done everything I could do there and I just needed to change it up. It didn’t feel brave…I just don’t have it in me to feel fully secure in anything I do. I always strive towards something better. It’s why I think sometimes I come across the wrong way, a bit distant. I’m just stressed out trying to control how I’m perceived. I think about things a lot.”

On his style: “Since leaving One Direction I’ve been given the freedom to be able to wear whatever I want and that’s made it more interesting. More creative,” the singer tells ELLE U.K. “I can say I want to wear metal arms and it’ll happen.”

On girlfriend Gigi Hadid: “She’s super intelligent; I think that’s why it works so well. And we do the same type of job so we get that with each other.”

For more on Zayn, visit ElleUK.com.

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Photos: Elle UK
Posted to: Magazine, Zayn Malik

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  • Naynay

    how long is he gonna use that storyline like bitch move on it’s 2016 already

  • Stefelles

    One Direction is basically over and this kid is still crying about it? Also…why are magazines still interested in him when he hasn’t done anything significant since pillow talk? Now I know zayn fans will jump my throat on this..commencing 3 2 1…but genuinely, he’s a bore.

  • Gina

    The real question is how long are these interviewers gonna keep asking him about it.

  • Gina

    He’s not crying about anything, people keep asking him about One Direction. Also his team is doing a horrible job at promoting him, they care more about having him model name brand clothing and doing PR stunts with Gigi instead of getting his music out there.

  • Gina

    He looks good. His team needs to promote his music more by having him perform and do televised interviews. I know he’s shy but I’m sure his team can get creative. Having him do photo shoots and generic interviews where he tries to convince us that his PR girlfriend is intelligent doesn’t cut it.

  • Lisa

    If Sia can figure it out, so can he. He comes across as a jerk to me.

    “She’s super intelligent; I think that’s why it works so well” ..like he’s implying that he’s incredibly intelligent and by complimenting her, he’s actually complimenting himself.

  • lala mood

    Ok its been like a year, Don’t get me wrong he is sexy as hell but talk about something new. If he is so creative and unique he should have something new to talk about. I swear every magazine cover for the past year he has been saying the same thing with nothing really outstanding to show for other than looking hot.

  • Gina

    His team tries to keep that “bad boy” persona going, I actually don’t think he’s a jerk in real life; he’s actually super shy and dorky.

    As for him calling Gigi intelligent, models are always trying to convince people that they’re smart (based on public statements Gigi has made, I think she has some sorta weird complex about people not thinking that she’s smart), so I’m sure his comment was supposed to come off as a compliment.

  • Khazija

    You trash somebody nastily and then play victim when you know people will defend him given the type of harassment he has to endure constantly.

    He is not “crying” about it and do you know what kind of bully you sound like? People are so threatened by Zayn sharing his side of the story and not painting his time with 1D to be ideal. The real story is a thousands times worse than what he has disclosed but he is being censored due to NDA’s and management contracts for the time being, otherwise people wouldn’t be mocking him for it.

    The smear campaign and derogatory attitude in the press where they lambast or spin any mention of 1D by Zayn negatively, sure worked on the general public who constantly sneer at him everytime 1D is mentioned. The full story is not even being told. Apparently 1D’s team can plant a million articles against Zayn and link themselves to him but he can’t say anything about it when it was 4 years of his life. Apparently, his name and a false version of events can be exploited to exploit their brand when they were still on tour and promoting MITAM but he can’t say anything about his past at all. He BARELY has said anything.

    Now you are going so far to claim that Zayn isn’t worthy of magazine interviews? Your hatred against him is blind and severe. Zayn is an interesting musician who people want to read about and who has the right to do interviews like anybody else or do you want him to be banned from doing that as well? Apparently, he has to be censored from speaking on any subject or doing any interviews because his haters want him to drop off the face of the earth.

    Mind of Mine was an incredible album. Is your perception of artists only based on how many hit radio singles they have? You have no idea how much he has been sabotaged and screwed over by his team. Mind of Mine is full of great songs. Like I Would, Befour, It’s You, and Wrong were all great songs that were screwed over by how it was distributed. He has had number of music videos out, has engaged in charity work, is involved in the fashion industry, is an artist, and there is a lot more to Zayn than meets the eye.

    There was a collaboration with Snakehips released called Cruel which is receiving a lot of critical acclaim. He has a wonderful ditty called Who on the Ghostbusters soundtrack. He has a song on the show The Get Down. He has been nominated for a bunch of awards. He is a constant topic of interest yet you call him boring and are claiming he hasn’t done anything.

    People actually care about Zayn as a human being. It is like naming a random celebrity and claiming they have no right to talk about anything or be worthy of discussion because they don’t have a hit single or hit movie currently out. That is reductive and pathetic.

    You are sure interested in somebody you claim to find boring. Zayn is a fascinating person and people are still peeling off the layers. He has a distinct personality and brings his own special vibe to this industry but you will continue to operate on the smear campaign against him and what they want you to think.

  • Khazija

    He is allowed to discuss his life and his past which he has barely done. The full story of went down has not even been disclosed yet people are still harassing him over it because the negative spin projected the notion that Zayn is such a villain for leaving and daring to say anything about 1D.

    Do you actually read his full interviews or just go by the negative soundbytes because you feel defensive over 1D for no apparent reason because the media focuses their negative headlines about that? Zayn has talked about his heritage, his taste in music, his family, and his interests. Something new is shared in each interview as far as insights into his life but people will whine as soon as 1D is mentioned by demonizing him over it.

  • Khazija

    Nothing about what he has said comes across as him looking like a jerk. You are projecting a lot of negative characteristics onto him because of your hatred for him. There are people in the industry who have enacted a smear campaign against him and he has to deal with a bias where people will negatively spin everything he does or says or they just flat-out lie about what he does or says.

    You know nothing about anxiety disorders or introversion. What a cold hearted reply. I guess you forget that Zayn did perform as a solo artist a number of times and that he was placed in a disadvantaged position that led to the Wembly performance being cancelled. He tried. It takes time and effort to deal with these kind of struggles and obstacles.

    The interview has him complimenting Gigi over her “intelligence” yet somehow you are twisting this to make it seem like he complimented himself. He didn’t even make it about himself. You are projecting arrogance onto it when there was none displayed. His haters are a piece of work. He does have a high IQ by the way but I guess he won’t be able to share that in a future interview without people mocking him.

  • Khazija

    He is not “using” a storyline. He is answering questions about his life and career which are valid. The response in this interview barely addresses anything about 1D in particular but you are still griping about it. I think it is time for you to move on over your bitterness over something that you don’t understand.

  • Khazija

    I think FAE has a different vendetta for Zayn. They did not want him to do certain performances, promote his music properly or release his singles at the appropriate time to radio or have proper distribution of his music. All they are is ensuring that Zayn exploited to other people’s benefit and to get their bottom line on the deal they made.

    One day, people will connect the dots. Let’s hope he can move on to a management that will handle his career properly as soon as he can.

  • Gina

    I found the cancellation of his UK performance suspicious and deliberate. FAE uses a the same PR company as Adele & Beyonce and both of these artist also had stories in the media about them suffering from anxiety just like Zayn. This is awfully coincidental. Zayn’s manager Sarah Stenett also manages Ellie Goulding. Ellie recently cancelled some concerts due to “anxiety” as well. Sara also manages Rita Ora who was hospitalized for “exhaustion.” Sarah & FAE use stories of illness for publicity it seems.
    Sarah also has ties to Simon Cowell and they do favors for each other’s clients. Rita and Iggy Azealia are both clients of Sarah’s and they both have been given jobs on the X Factor which was created by Simon himself. Many of the people Zayn is working with behind the scenes (producers, video directors etc) have ties to Simon Cowell and his record label. All of the boys of 1D aren’t fully out of their contract with Simon just yet. Many people think Zayn leaving 1d was a publicity stunt to generate revenue before the boys dump Simon and his record label for good. They are not fully promoting Zayn because I feel like they are trying to sabotage his career once he is fully out of his contract. Simon is a spiteful man.

  • lala mood

    Calm down with the essays, and yes I did read the whole article. I just have an opinion that his whole image and “creativity” is over hyped because musically and visually he isnt doing anything different than say the Weeknd or Miguel. I like his music but its nothing for you to write essays on everyone’s comments!

  • lala mood

    Then if he is so smart then he should turn down all these offers and just find creative ways of performing!

  • Gina

    His hands are tied. The higher ups make the final decisions.

  • lala mood

    I can agree that maybe his hands are tied but he can totally divert answering these types of questions.

  • Khazija

    No, he can’t. People need to stop acting like he can’t or shouldn’t answer questions about 1D. That is not fair or reasonable. I hope in the future, he can be more candid about what really happened instead of taking the fall for it.

    It is his management and PR team that controls the promotion.

  • Khazija

    I will not calm down and I will give proper responses. A full essay about this would take thousands of pages.

    Zayn is a creative artist. He has been massively underrated and he hasn’t been overhyped at all. Zayn has his own personality, heritage, background, and special characteristics that make him unique. YOU are making lazy comparisons to other R & B artists that aren’t valid.

    I am defending him against haters and their need to cut him down while spreading negative misconceptions because they were played by a smear campaign.

  • Gina

    Maybe. But many times the people who handle his PR are the ones formulating the answers for these interviews. They know what makes headlines. In person, Zayn seems so different to how he comes off in written text; which makes me very suspicious of the whole interview process.

  • lala mood

    I can respect your opinion but please don’t patronize me for having one that is different. Is he talented? Yes. Is his music good? Yes. Is it groundbreaking? To me not so much. But you don’t have to discredit me for disagreeing with you and writing long essays makes you look like an insane fanatic not someone who is open minded.

  • Stefelles

    Are you his publicist? Why would anyone sit down and write an 8 paragraph essay defending someone who isn’t paying them to do so?

  • Stefelles

    Also play victim? Lol you’re funny.

  • Khazija

    I am not being patronizing but am responding to derogatory replies from people who dislike him and have this incessant need to disparage him.

    You insult him and you insult me. You think I am not going to react to that? I will not be shamed from defending him or discussing the truth ( to the extent I can).

    I am about validating a correct viewpoint. I am not “insane” or fanatical for defending him or for giving in-depth replies to degrading nonsense. You ignore the merit behind what is being said to mock it for being “long essays” when that is not even the case.

    Zayn’s music is raw and highly personal. He sings about not just relationships but his pain, struggles, and the deception, cruelty, and etc he has endured but people don’t get the subtext due to how biased reviews have misportrayed his music.

    Why does his music have to be groundbreaking to be considered worthy of acclaim? I don’t see that kind of tokenism projected onto other artists?

    I will discredit attacks.

  • Khazija

    You were going off about his fans defending him before anybody posted when you knew your hateful responses would generate that response. I guess you find attacking people with negative spin, hilarious.

  • Khazija

    No, I am not. Why? It is called caring about people and the truth. It is called countering corruption. That is what decent people do. Who is paying you to troll Zayn? I could ask that. Why do you act like people who defend him must be paid to do so?

    Then it is rather lame that you disregard any point being made and are ridiculing me for writing paragraphs because I had to do that to properly respond to what you said.

  • Toni gee

    What does he mean (“Since leaving One Direction I’ve been given the freedom to be able to wear whatever I want and that’s made it more interesting. More creative,”) why could he not wear what he wanted before? I never paid any attention to these little boys but I find this comment odd. I was unable to pull up the rest of the article to see if he clarified this statement.

  • Glyn Ruck

    Intelligent people are far more inclined to suffer insecurities.
    Superior awareness of matters, issues, surroundings, atmosphere & people in general. Zayn is very bright! He will overcome in time. He has an IQ of 142.

  • Glyn Ruck

    “Like I Would” has just moved up from 13th to 7th on Billboard dance songs!

  • Glyn Ruck

    “Like I Would” has just moved up from 13th to 7th on Billboard dance songs!

  • Glyn Ruck

    One Direction was heavily controlled by Simon, Modest & HJPR to maintain the squeaky clean boy band image. They were told what to do, told what to say, told how to say it, dress, hair, no beards, told what to sing, told how to sing it & told to be happy. Only when contract time was approaching was some leeway given which is why MITAM is a little more mature. Simon had zero migration strategy to move 1D to a more mature audience. Now that their contracts have all expired with Modest (Contracts with Simon expired over 2 years back) they are trying to distance themselves from Simon’s management with the exception of Niall. They need to expunge the deception of the past & be themselves. None of them has re-signed with Simon. Seems Niall will be the only one to do so. Simon is bitter because he had hoped to re-sign them all but Zayn, Harry & Liam have all signed with superior management & PR teams. Louis will not be going solo but will spend his efforts in TV & on his talent management company & record label.

  • Khazija

    He had to face a lot of restrictions while he was in 1D. The real truth behind the abuse he suffered is much worse than he is revealing. There is nothing odd about what he said. He is saying how he has more freedom of expression now when it comes to his clothes and music.

  • Lisa

    On the contrary, my degree is in psychology, actually, so yes, I do know about anxiety disorders. i’m not a “hater” or projecting anything “because of [my] hatred for him.” Certain words when put together will give a certain connotation. This is why his PR people should train him more on how to put sentences together so people don’t get the wrong idea.

    He signed up as an entertainer to audition and perform on the x factor. He willingly went on world tours with a boy band. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a disorder, but it’s odd to me that it’s suddenly a major topic for him. didn’t he say he wanted to get away from it all and then right after, came out with an album? granted, i’m not a die-hard follower or even a minimal follower, so I don’t know as much as you seem to about him. But for a normal, non-fan like me, i’m giving my opinion on how it comes across: disingenuous. And Sia seems to be doing a great job of handling her anxiety in a productive manner so that she can continue entertaining, so again, if she can figure it out, he can take some lessons from her.

  • Lisa

    Woah, i just saw all of your replies and realized you’re quite enthusiastic. not gonna engage anymore. one piece of advice: look out at the night sky and see all of the possibility and think about whether you feel you’re being as productive as you can be with your life right now. good day!

  • Naynay

    I never cared about 1D so don’t assume shit you just don’t know, I actually liked the fact he was leaving that teenage band and was intersted in what he had, but truly his album ain’t that good and he keeps on bringing back this 1D leaving, he did like 12 interviews about that, at some point it’s been 2 years just let it

  • Toni gee

    Thanks that was very informative. I had no idea they had so little say in anything. Makes me wonder how many others are in a similar situation.

  • Toni gee

    Yes when you do not know what context it is intended it is very odd to hear a person say I can now wear whatever I want. That is why I ask the question. Now that I am curious you keep implying that there is a much darker truth and that he suffered abuse. What are you talking about? He had a bad contract and team I understand that now. Is that what you are calling (The real truth behind the abuse he suffered is much worse than he is revealing.) I would like to know what you are talking about.

  • Aliyah

    He was so cute during the filming. I’m so glad that he’s growing into his own person and slowly becoming more confident. He’s an inspiration. I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait to buy this issue. He’s looks amazing.

  • Aliyah

    He was so cute during the filming. I’m so glad that he’s growing into his own person and slowly becoming more confident. He’s an inspiration. I’m so proud of him and I can’t wait to buy this issue. He’s looks amazing.

  • Aliyah

    He’s not boring. He must have something that has people like you visiting posts about him and leaving vile comments. Obviously his fans will defend him here. As for your comment on 1D, he has every right to talk about his time there. Last year it was the other boys that were mentioning Zayn and shading him in every interview.

  • Khazija

    I am not going to disclose every detail of his personal or professional life on a comments section like this, but I will defend him and make certain valid implications when people smear him over a false perspective that was imposed against him.

    There are people trying to destroy him and people are falling for certain calculated narratives while underhandedly sabotaging him. Gradually, over time, more bits of truth will come out.

  • Khazija

    Defending people from lies and ignorant bashing is a productive exercise. Spreading lies and ill will is not.

  • Khazija

    A person with a degree in psychology would not make such cold hearted or judgemental remarks against somebody with an anxiety disorder nor enable any sort of abelistic rhetoric.

    Having an anxiety disorder or dealing with panic attacks doesn’t mean a person can’t have a career in the entertainment industry. He is certainly not the only one who has dealt with these kind of issues or struggles. He is not going to give up on something he loves.

    Adele, Frank Ocean, Ellie Goulding, and etc have cancelled concerts before due to anxiety. People didn’t spread an ugly attitude against them by acting like they should quit.

    It is not disingenuous and you have no idea how hard it has been for him. A professional in the field of psychology wouldn’t make these kind of remarks by acting like a musician or actor can’t have anxiety issues.

    He is a gifted vocalist who pursued his dreams and signed on to X Factor partially to help his family pay the bills. He came from a poor family in Bradford. If you knew anything about him, you would know what he has displayed visible signs of and he has endured a lot. He has also mentioned having anxiety issues, being uncomfortable speaking in public, and being shy before so this is nothing new.

    Again, you have no idea how he was mistreated in his circumstances and he has been forced to keep quiet about a lot of matters but people lash out at him over what little he has said. He was literally put in a bad position where he couldn’t be in the right head space because he was flown out the night before and didn’t have the chance to rehearse properly which caused him to have an anxiety attack before performing for a notoriously hostile crowd. A real person who understands psychology knows that anxiety levels fluctuate and different people manage it, in different ways.

  • Khazija

    That infamous facebook statement came from Modest Management, not him. Again, people continue to judge him by damaging narratives that he was entrapped by. He never made any actual statements from his mouth about quitting or leaving the spotlight, that came from Simon Cowell.

    He didn’t come out with an album right after, it got released on March 25th, 2016, a year after he left.

    There is a stigma attached to anxiety disorders because ignorant people will apply harsh judgement towards people in the entertainment industry who have to deal with it. He is dealing with it the best they can and has to overcome issues like other artists have done.

    This is not the first time he has mentioned his discomfort about social situations and it is brave of him to open about it.

  • Glyn Ruck

    A pleasure. They over doubled Simon’s nett worth while enjoying a mere 7% of the spoils to split 5 ways. They were grossly ripped off. They were his most successful act by a very long way. The drastic drop in his earnings curve now proves it! Many artists find themselves in the same position hence the Rebecca Ferguson court case which she won. The 1D guys were very young when signed & easily manipulated. They just desperately wanted to succeed & succeed they did.

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