Former One direction member, Zayn Malik is having a hard time.
In March, the artist broke up with his 2 year relationship with Gigi Hadid just weeks after having her eyes tattooed on his chest. And recently, Malik’s representative has broken ties with the artist, two months before the debut of his new album. His agent, Sarah Stennet explained, “Sometimes, in life, you have to make difficult decisions to bring about positive change”.
It was with this recent news that Malik had posted worrying images on his Instagram, showing his extreme weight loss, it has now been deleted.
In 2010, the members of One Direction auditioned as solo candidates for the British syndicate of X-Factor, and were formed as a ‘boy-band’, becoming the most successful group of the 21st century. In 2015 he left the group and in 2016, released his first solo album which debuted at number one in the US an UK.
The departure of the group and his new album caused backlash and criticism despite its success. Many people called him out for his muslim heritage, which has been speculated to have sparked his recent display of anxiety and stage fright. Among these, Azealia Banks accused him of copying aspects of his video ‘Chasing Time’ for Malik’s, ‘Like I Would’. The rapper retaliated with racist and homophobic comments, including calling him, “hairy dog that stinks” a “curri” or “paki”. “You were the only paki in the group and you knew you were there for a reason. You were the symbolic brown boy. All those white guys in One Direction disrespected you and made you their pet.” The comments did not go unnoticed however, and Banks was removed from the line up for a London music festival, for which Zayn was headline act.
His upbringing was considered relatively normal, born into a middle-class family, from a British-Pakistani heritage. He has mentioned previously that he did not want his religion to define who he is as a person or artist.
Along with these events, as well as the heavy scrutiny from the press over Zayn and Gigi’s relationship, Zayn has struggled to keep his head above water, opening up about these experiences in his book ‘Zayn’, published in 2016.
“I’m not a person to go out a lot with large groups of people,” he wrote. “It’s been a year since I’ve properly been out in public.” Malik also explained why he had missed several performances at the last minute, particularly in London 2016, set to have been his first appearance as a solo artist. “I had an anxiety attack that hit me like a train, I got sick, I could not breathe, I tried to get out of my house to get into a car and take me to the stadium, but I could only do some movements before being hit with an imaginary wall” he explained.
Malik also openly spoke about his struggle with eating-disorders. “Not that I was worried about my weight or anything, I could just spend days (sometimes two or three in a row) without eating anything at all.” The situation became serious, although at the time I did not know what was happening to me. I think it was about control, I felt that I had no control over anything in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did it.”
The artist deleted all his Instagram posts, many of which contained Gigi and is now only using the platform to promote himself and his new music, hopefully a sign of positive change.