Nobody saw it coming: Zayn Malik said goodbye to One Direction. After almost four years, the 22-year-old left the pop group in the middle of their “On the Road Again” tour, causing Directioners all over the world to go berserk. Rumors of him quitting the band started to circulate after he “signed off due to stress” just before Philippine leg of their tour and allegedly returned to the United Kingdom to recuperate. Now, recent reports reveal that he has released a demo for his upcoming solo career. However, this is confirmed to be a hoax because the truth is, after four years with One Direction, Zayn Malik is going to college.
More specifically, the singer is coming back to the Philippines, not to make up for his absence last March 21 and 22, but to become an undergraduate student of De La Salle University. Fear not, though, as the pop sensation already has his sights set on becoming a member of the DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild.
On why he quit the hugely popular boyband One Direction, to his choice of university and his now not-so-secret passion for theater, the newest heart throb of DLSU tells all in an exclusive interview with The Menagerie.
Why he left
Zayn’s decision to part ways with his bandmates was so sudden that it left millions all over the globe wondering why. After all, there had been no reports of any previous problems among the band members, nor any with their managers, Modest Management.
“Honestly, I just want to live a normal life. I mean, look what they’ve done to me. They had me tied down. I wouldn’t have left them if they kept holding me that way,” he explains. Zayn goes on to clarify that everything is good between him and his ex-bandmates, as well as with management.
“It was a personal decision to leave,” he continues. While Zayn feels guilty about letting his fans down, he stands firm on his decision to pursue a life outside of One Direction.
When asked what he’ll miss the most about being in the band, he says, “Staying up all night, jumping around until we’d see the sun, and finding a girl, and telling her she’s the one. Also breaking tables.” He shares that all the fun and laughs that the boys had on tour is something that he’ll never forget. Zayn adds that he’ll also miss his Directioners, whom he hopes will support him no matter what.
As the remaining members of One Direction and the rest of the world adjust to life without Zayn Malik, he is excited to start a new adventure: college. “I’ve always wanted to go to university and get a degree,” he says. He also brings up that he wasn’t originally going to study in the Philippines, but his plans changed when he got his letter of acceptance and a private tour of the University last March. He shares, “While the boys were performing, I was here in DLSU, touring the campus.”
Zayn: The normal 22-year-old
Now that he’ll finally get the chance to live out his dream of getting a degree, Zayn can’t wait to get started on his majors as an AB-Literature student next school year. “I’m excited to get started on reading and studying the classics,” he says with a big smile on his face. With his love for books and his dream of one day becoming an English teacher, he’ll have no problem making it through the daily grind of his course. However, he worries about how he’ll fit in with the other students in campus. He hopes that his fellow Lasallians will see through his international popstar image and treat him like any normal 22-year-old.
Apart from the classes, Zayn is also looking forward to experiencing the other aspects of college life. For one, he looked into renting a unit in one of the nearby condominiums, or possibly living in one of the dormitories around campus. “I haven’t decided yet, but I have my respective choices for dormitories, or in case I’m renting out a flat. I heard One Archer’s Place is pretty nice,” he explains, before adding, “I’ve been curious about what it’s like to live in a dorm with a roommate.” He tells us that the word “One” did not bring back any memories or affect his decision whatsoever.
A taste for theatre
“Nobody knows this but, a year ago, I travelled to the Philippines secretly to check out this Haunted Hall some of my Filipino friends were talking about. I was really impressed,” explains the British singer. Zayn shares that he is now hoping to apply to De La Salle University’s famous theater troupe, the Harlequin Theatre Guild.
Apart from the private tour of the University, Zayn met with HTG on the second night of the concert. “The exact details of the meeting, I won’t say. With regards to the guild, well, I loved them immediately. They‘re a great group, and really funny too. Although to be honest, I didn’t get the jokes in Tagalog. I had to ask what the signs that said #ZaynBalik meant. At first, I thought they just got my last name wrong.”
The singer says that he’s always had a special place in his heart for the theater as he’s always loved reading and watching Shakespeare’s plays. He even performed a line from his favorite play, Macbeth, except with a little twist: he sang it.
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”
His voice was heaven.
What Zayn did share from that meeting was that HTG performed their infamous General Elections RTR for him during the meeting. “I don’t know who they were mocking, but it was hella funny. My stomach was painful from all the laughter!”
When asked which monster he’d want to dress up as, should he be one of the students walking around to advertise the Guild’s famous annual event, Haunted Hall, Zayn responded, “Well, I’d like to dress up as the Filipino Kapre. I think it’s pretty cool and it reminds me of a taller, hairier Simon Cowell.”
HTG’s Company Manager, Janine Martinez, had this to say. “Well, ‘di kami nagbibigay ng special treatment dito sa Harlequin. Kahit sino pa ‘yan. Even if you’re Eddie Redmayne or Tom Hanks, you will still have to apply.
He seemed enthusiastic, so we’ll have to see.”
Who knows? Maybe the next showing of Fish-Hair Woman will have the name Zayn Malik on the poster. If not, then there’s always Innersoul, the DLSU Chorale, OCCS, and the USG – “Zayn Malik has that One Thing” could be a good slogan.
Welcome to De La Salle University, Mr. Malik. We hope you’ll have the story of your life here.