Zayn Malik poses for photographers upon arrival at The Asian Awards in central London, April 17, 2015.
Joel Ryan—Invision/AP
April 18, 2015 8:24 AM EDT

This is not a drill.

Zayn Malik attended the Asian Awards in London on Friday in his first public appearance since leaving One Direction, reportedly thanking his bandmates in an acceptance speech.

“I’d like to thank my mum and dad, and I’d also like to take this moment to thank four of the best guys I’ve ever met, everything I’ve done with them will stay with me for the rest of my life,” he told the audience, according to Now Daily.

The singer is also sporting a brand new look. His hair, which had previously been shaved into a viking ponytail, was completely buzzed off at the event.

Malik’s new nose ring, too, was on display. The stud in his left nostril was first seen when British music producer Naughty Boy Tweeted out a photo late Thursday, leading to mass Directioner hysteria.

(Especially given Naughty Boy’s tendency to “wind up” One Direction’s fans, as Malik’s former bandmate, Louis Tomlinson, once accused.)

The singer, 22, appeared at the awards with his mother, Trisha, as his date.

In other 1D news, Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan attended a Great Gatsby-themed event on Thursday to benefit Trekstock, a cancer charity for which both Payne and Harry Styles act as ambassadors

Payne, 21, has been doing his part to raise funds for the charity via Prizeo by offering updated One Direction merchandise (that is, without Malik pictured) and the chance to spend time with the band at an upcoming show on their On the Road Again tour.

Since the band took a break from their world tour earlier this month, Styles, 21, has taken up residence in Los Angeles. OTRA will pick back up in Cardiff, Wales, on June 5.

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