And part of being on the outside, apparently, is steering "self-indulgent" celeb events in which the rich and famous dress to the nines and flaunt their success; the worst of which, in Malik's view, is the Met Gala, which he attended back in 2016.
"The Met Gala is not necessarily anything that I ever knew about or was about," Malik told GQ. "But my [former] stylist...would say to me, 'This is really good for you to do.' And no matter how strong you are mentally, you can always be swayed to do certain things. Now, it's not something I would go to. I'd rather be sitting at my house, doing something productive, than dressing up in really expensive clothes and being photographed on a red carpet ... To do the self-indulgent, 'Look at me, I'm amazing' thing on the red carpet, it's not me."
"Gi stole the night, though," he said. "The stained glass on her dress. Everyone else just put a cross on."
Speaking of Hadid, the former One Direction crooner confirmed that she's still the apple of his eye, even if they aren't so much into labels.
"We're still really good friends, and we're still in contact," he said. "No bad blood. We're adults. We don't need to put a label on it, make it something for people's expectations."
Though that's bad news for those of us who fawn over their every Instagram photo and yearn for details of their time spent out on his rural Pennsylvania farm, it's not too surprising that a man who vehemently despises showboating in public would want the most intimate aspects of his life to remain private — even if he sometimes posts about it on Instagram.
Of course, Malik isn't completely against giving fans a glimpse into his life. In addition to his own documentation on social media platforms, he said he's learned how to use the paparazzi for his own benefit.
"That's my promo," he said of paparazzi pictures. "I come outside, they take photos. They stay outside and do all the work! You can get pissed off about it and be like, 'Yo, this is a hindrance on my life.' Or you can use it for your own benefit and be like, 'Well, if they're going to take the photos, then let them.' You've gotta earn your dollar, and I've gotta earn mine."
So, "no" on flashy galas, but "yes" on pictures of you in your tracksuit bottoms. Got it.