Zayn Malik pays tribute to One Direction at award ceremony
Zayn Malik has paid tribute to his former band mates at an award ceremony, where he made his first solo appearance since leaving One Direction.
The 22-year-old, sporting a new shaved hairstyle, was presented with the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music at the fifth annual Asian Awards, held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
The awards celebrate excellence across the global Pan-Asian community.
Malik said he had an “amazing” time as a member of the pop band.
He also said he was “not really a guy of many words”.
He added: “I’d also like to take this moment to thank four of the best guys that I ever met whilst being in the band and doing all the amazing things that I did.
“Some of the things that we did will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Malik ended his speech by saying: “Here’s to the future.”
He left One Direction last month after returning to the UK from the boyband’s tour having been “signed off with stress”.
In a statement at the time of his departure, he said wanted to spend time as a “normal 22-year-old” away from the spotlight.
It wasn’t just the hundreds of fans outside the Grosvenor Hotel in central London who were starstruck as Zayn Malik made his first public appearance at the Asian Awards.
Goodness Gracious Me star Sanjeev Bhaskar admitted he was “starstruck just hearing Zayn’s name” and happy to be at the same ceremony as him.
Bollywood’s top actor, Shah Rukh Khan, also said he had a “fan moment” and took a selfie with the former One Direction star whom he described as “cool”. He added his children would have a “new-found respect” for him for doing so.
Meanwhile, Zayn’s mum and sister had selfies taken with the Indian actor.
There were big cheers for Zayn from the predominantly Asian crowd as he collected his award, which was presented to him by his friend Naughty Boy.
The two singers sat together for the entire evening, even leaving the main hall for over an hour to have a “meeting” — although Naughty Boy denied the rumours that the two friends are working together on an upcoming musical project.