Zayn Malik, 22, former member of British band One Direction, has got the rumour mill buzzing. After calling off his engagement to singer Perrie Edwards, he’s in news for dating a model of Indian origin, Neelam Gill.
The buzz is that they first met in London earlier this year and kept in touch afterwards. Malik, who also has Pakistani ancestry, is currently in Los Angeles, US. Gill, too, confirmed her presence there when she tweeted: “To live and die in LA, it’s the place to be.”
Wondering who she is? The 20-year-old is the first Indian to be the face of British luxury label Burberry and she walked the runway for them multiple times, starting in 2013.
Born in Coventry, UK, she traces her origins to Punjab, birthplace of her grandparents. Known as Neelam Johal before, she recently adopted her stepfather’s surname. That’s not it. While her presence in the desi fashion scene is limited to magazine covers, Gill is being touted to be the next big thing here.
“She’s bound to make it big, especially after being the face of such a label. Her relevance in India will be a lot more in the coming years,” says Sunil Sethi, president of Fashion Design Council of India. Designer Anand Bhushan adds: “I love her, she has the perfect chiseled look and an impeccable ramp body. She has the potential to bring back the ‘supermodel’ tag to India.”
Listen to One Direction's first Zayn-less song here