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Zayn Malik returns to public eye with buzz-cut hair, nose piercing

Zayn Malik returns to public eye with buzz-cut hair, nose piercing
Zayn Malik has traded in his thick, wavy hair, shown at left in November 2014, for the buzz cut he debuted at the Asian Awards in London on Friday. (Jason Merrick / Getty Images, left; Joel Ryan / Associated Press, right.)

Zayn Malik's transformation from One Direction boy bander to "a normal 22-year-old" is getting serious: He's shaved off his dreamy boy-band hair.

Malik, whose split from the pop-phenom band rocked 1D fans at the end of March, debuted the buzz cut Friday on the red carpet at the 5th annual Asian Awards in London. He also had an older woman on his arm, mom Trisha Malik, and what appeared to be a piercing on his nose.

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In his first public appearance since going solo, he made time for fans and selfies when he arrived, the Mirror reported, then needed some help from security to make his way through the crowds.

"This kid is so cool. May Allah bless him," tweeted actor and all-around Bollywood big shot Shah Rukh Khan, 49, who posed for a picture with Malik during what he said was dinner time at the awards.

(Incidentally, previous winners for outstanding achievement in music include Nicole Scherzinger and Norah Jones; "Jurassic World" actor Irrfan Khan was honored last year for achievement in cinema.)

Naughty Boy, a.k.a. Shahid Khan, was also on hand, fueling rumors that there might be an announcement coming about Malik's possible solo career.

In early March, the DJ told the Sun, "Zayn is going to feature on my next album … We're making music and having fun. This is just like a side gig and I don't think there's anything wrong with it."

A day after the One Direction schism, the producer and the singer were spotted together at a London recording studio.

In late March, Malik said he was leaving 1D because he wanted to be "a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."

Alas, Zayn, it looks as if the spotlight is following you ...

Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs.

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