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Zayn Malik Turns On Selfie-Mode

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we revisit the birth of Zayn Malik’s solo stardom with his September 2015 cover debut. 

At approximately 12:30pm Eastern Standard Time on March 25th, 2015, the audible gasp of teenagers from around the world shattered an unknown number of glass window panes when Zayn Malik announced his departure from One Direction. After five years, four number one albums, and a slew of high-grossing world tours, the boy in the band decided to leave behind fellow members Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles for a little rest and relaxation. “I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said at the time of the pop exodus. 

Luckily, it didn’t take long for the “Better” singer to invite Interview into the inner sanctum of his private life when he posed for the September 2015 #ME issue only a few months later. In an edition that celebrated the selfie, the pop star turned on portrait mode for his very first magazine cover as a solo artist. With bedroom eyes, pillow-soft lips, and body ink galore, we often wonder if Malik’s thirst trap of a cover stopped the supermodel Gigi Hadid dead in her tracks when she passed by newsstands. The pair, who reportedly started dating shortly after in November 2015, recently welcomed a baby girl—nearly five years after the date of our issue’s release. While it’s unlikely Interview had any influence on the kindling of their relationship, let’s just say we always knew he was a daddy.