The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday October 17th

Column: Zayn and Gigi are having a baby and I am so emotional

<p>A very real picture of writer Ramishah Maruf from 2014. Photo courtesy of Ramishah Maruf.</p>
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A very real picture of writer Ramishah Maruf from 2014. Photo courtesy of Ramishah Maruf.

Supermodel Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, former member of boy band One Direction, are reportedly having a baby.

This unborn celebrity baby has the internet in shambles. Two members of One Direction have had children, but none of it came close to the buzz surrounding the surprise baby announcement of One Direction’s most talented singer. (This is a fact.)

The power ZiGi Jr. holds is astounding.

But most importantly, we should remember desi girls around the world during this time, the original stans of Zayn Malik. For years we have followed Zayn, from his family home in Bradford, England, to the new journey of fatherhood he is about to embark on. In a way, this is the end of our childhood. 

I know Ramadan is all about remembering God — and I do! I’ve been praying and reading the Quran all the time! — but as my poor, unsuspecting family sat around the table to break our fast, I couldn’t stop myself from discussing the ZiGi baby theories. Was the picture Gigi posted with Zayn at her Pennsylvania farm secretly a gender reveal party? Did Gigi’s mother, Yolanda, hint at her daughter's pregnancy on her Instagram account?

My mom suggested Gigi get married to Zayn, as 25 is the perfect age to become a wife. My brother has long since learned to tune me out. I think my dad turned on Bloomberg (the TV channel). 

How can I put such profound, earth-shattering news into one article? How can I sum up every emotion I’m feeling in a mere 700 words? How can my life ever continue on in the same way, knowing a human being with Gigi and Zayn’s genes is going to exist soon?

The gravity of this situation can only be explained by delving into my past — specifically, the sixth grade. 

Not to brag, but I liked One Direction before it was cool in America. I remember the Friday night in 2011 clearly, when my friends and I were sitting in our usual corner of the mosque’s weekly Islamic school class. 

“Do you know who Zayn Malik is?” my best friend said. “My cousins in England showed me him.”

Of course I didn’t know. I was baby. She reached into her Vera Bradley tote and pulled out her iPod Touch, and there on her lock screen was a picture of who would soon become my first-ever celebrity crush. OMG. He was so cute! And he had a British accent. We snaked headphones up through our hijabs (arguably the best Muslim woman life hack) and listened to his X-Factor audition, his poor confession saying he couldn’t dance, One Direction's vlogs from a couch — well, until our teacher caught us. 

By the end of the night, I was 13 and in love. 

The peak of my high school journalism career was the article I wrote the day Zayn left One Direction. You can read it here. Please don’t ask me any questions about Zayn’s departure without giving me a notice of three to five business days. It was very painful for me. 

And now, as a woman of 21 years who is constantly asked by aunties when I plan on getting engaged (please leave me alone), I thought I had moved on. Riz Ahmed was an example. Also Hasan Minhaj. They were woke, handsome Muslim men, right? And, apparently, Zayn had rejected Islam. Not cool!

But when I woke up at 2 p.m. today (I’m fasting, okay) and opened Twitter, all those preteen feelings came rushing back. It crashed over me like a wave at high tide. I even began imagining what Mohamed Hadid's next comments on Gigi's Instagram would be. 

But after a full day of reflection, I can only feel sorry for Gigi and Zayn — having your pregnancy announced on TMZ is cruel and exploitative. Zayn is a notoriously private person, and his anxiety was a major factor in his decision to leave One Direction. 

I wish I could give you a profound meaning to this article. Maybe it can be how life goes on, even during an apocalyptic global pandemic. Or maybe it’s the weird sense of pride I have knowing that 2020’s most famous celebrity baby has Muslim grandparents. Or perhaps this represents how weeks of quarantine in my parents’ house have led me to regress into the person I was in high school.

But honestly, I’m just thinking about how beautiful this baby is going to be.

@ramishahmaruf_

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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