She talked to Teen Vogue about the process, and why she loves the song.
When Zayn began teasing his music video for “iT’s YoU,” the second single for his upcoming album, Mind of Mine, he included a gorgeous, slow-mo clip of a woman walking towards a vintage car. Though her back was turned to the camera, she was blond and statuesque, so people immediately started wondering…Was that Gigi Hadid? Would Zayn cast his girlfriend in two music videos back to back? She absolutely slayed in the “Pillowtalk” music video, which had dropped a month before so hey, maybe, right?
— zayn (@zaynmalik) February 25, 2016
It turns out that it was 21-year-old Nicola Peltz, who has been in projects like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Bates Motel. But a music video is entirely different from movies or TV, and Nicola is the first to point that out. “It’s so crazy because films can take six months, and come out a year later…and this was filmed a week and a half ago,” she told Teen Vogue the morning after the music video dropped. (Nicola has been in another music video before — Miley Cyrus’ “7 Things,” when she was 13, but she says, “I was like a different human” back then.)
She and Zayn filmed the clip, which is full of gorgeous images of each of them staring forlornly into the distance, over the course of a day at a house that Frank Sinatra once owned. “I loved the whole concept of it, that it was black and white and had old Hollywood vibes,” she told us, adding that “I was excited to meet Zayn. I’ve never met him before and I’m really close with his girlfriend, Gigi,” so the casting wound up working perfectly, and sort of acted as a passing of the baton.
“I called her when I got the offer,” Nicola says, “and she was like, ‘Oh my god.’ She really wanted me to do it. I mean, I love her so much and I‘m really close with her, but yeah, she was excited for me. She’s the best.” She also says that her other friends picked up on the headlines making the rounds after Zayn teased a shot of Nicola in the video. “They were like, ‘Oh, everyone thinks it’s Gigi!’ Which, by the way, I’m beyond flattered, she’s a goddess,” she added with a laugh.
A lot of the shots focus on either Nicola or Zayn — but rarely both — and imply that the couple are watching each other as they each walk through their shared house. “I think we had, like, one shot or two shots of us in the same room,” she admits. “The other stuff was filmed separately. There was one shot when I’m in the pool and looking at the house, and it was just…looking at the house, I wasn’t looking at anyone. Zayn was supposed to be in the window but he wasn’t there,” she adds with a laugh. That’s the magic of editing, we suppose.
But she and the singer still hung out between takes on set, and bonded over “It’s You.” “He’s so talented, and it’s such a beautiful song,” she says of the track. “I heard it for the first time when I was on set. It’s so catchy and calming. I really like it. I listened to that song over and over and over all day long and I did not get sick of it.”
A lot of people online are speculating about what exactly the song is about — and even what Nicola’s role in the music video is supposed to symbolize. But she’s not really paying attention to the gossip. “People connect to different songs in different ways; that’s why music is so moving,” she points out. “It makes you want to get up and dance, or it makes you emotional or reminds you of someone. Or when you’re dating someone and you play a song over and over, and you’re not dating them and you hear that song, it hits you in that spot. So I kind of like that people can have a lot of interpretations.”
One thing’s for sure: the way she drives off at the end of the video means that their fictional relationship is over. But given that Zigi is still going strong, and Gi and Nicola are still as close as ever, we just might sense a new best friendship forming.