There’s only one reason people are talking about Love Island so far – and her name is Maya Jama
We’re three days into the second ever Winter Love Island, a return few people were really asking for but one which has already been given more attention than any recent summer series.
Why? Well it’s not the cast, which as it stands seem perfectly fine – nothing too groundbreaking to get excited about yet.
One woman alone has already injected more life into Love Island than Maura Higgins, Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Molly Mae Hague combined.
That woman is Maya Jama – who has proven to be everyone’s type on paper without exception.
Love Island has been a long time coming for the Bristolian presenter.
I’ve always been baffled that we live in a world blessed by both Love Island and Jama but they somehow haven’t come together until now.
Love Island is back for 2023
Kiss goodbye to your social life as Love Island is back for its Winter 2023 series.
- Love Island spin-off featuring middle aged contestants finally announced by ITV
- ‘We won Love Island and are still together now – this is what the new contestants should know’
- Love Island’s Ron Hall completely loses his head over bombshell Zara Deniz Lackenby-Brown: ‘She’s got everything’
- Maya Jama hopes presenting Love Island will open ‘way more doors’ for aspiring stars from ‘similar backgrounds’
Get all the latest Love Island updates on Metro.co.uk‘s dedicated page.
I’ve been a long admirer of Maya since she first landed on my radar, which shamefully I’ll admit wasn’t until she suddenly erupted all over the press as the girlfriend of grime icon Stormzy around 2015.
But I felt an affinity with her from the get-go and I’m not entirely sure I knew why.
Perhaps it could have been her Bristol roots – the city is where I spent my formative years and, despite growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, always refer to it as home.
There’s a distinctive charm to Bristolians.
Fun, warmth, optimism and a uniquely local sense of humour tend to be embedded in so many of them, at least the ones I know.
Jama moved from Bristol to London when she was just 16 in pursuit of a TV career, landing her first presenting gig at JumpOff TV before swiftly climbing the ranks at MTV, Radio 1, while becoming the youngest ever host of the prestigious MOBO Awards at just 22 years old in 2017.
Since then she’s dipped her toe in whatever presenting pool has come her way, from joining Peter Crouch to present a BBC Euro 2020 Saturday night show for football fans to taking over from Stacey Dooley on Glow Up.
Yet until now she’s been waiting to really land the role she’s long deserved on the country’s most talked-about shows, despite being one of the most likeable and effortless presenters we have.
But that all changed with the new series of Love Island on Monday night and suddenly there was buzz around a TV host like I can’t remember since the astronomic rise of Holly Willoughby after she joined This Morning way back in 2009.
There’s no denying Love Island fans on Twiter can be particularly cruel – just ask any islander who has left the villa and no matter how popular they might have been. They will have been confronted with appalling abuse most of us could never imagine and will never experience.
But on Monday night Jama ignited a unanimous positive reaction like I’ve never seen before.
While the Love Island community, unrivalled in its passion, is constantly divided, it was united in the belief that Jama was exactly what the show needed.
Much like when Caroline Flack hosted Love Island, Davina McCall with Big Brother, and recently Claudia Winkleman on The Traitors, ultimately what made them all the perfect hosts was their genuine passion for the show, the contestants and the fans.
She’s the embodiment of Love Island, she even said so herself on her big debut warning the contestants: ‘Don’t forget finding your perfect match is never that simple, trust me I know…’
That she does, her love life has been well documented since dating Stormzy andbeing engaged to NBA star Ben Simmons – until they broke up last year – even if she herself has rarely commented on either.
No wonder then Love Island producers are said to be desperate to lock her down for a multi series deal when she has been such a positive distraction in a series that has thus far given us very little to talk about when it comes to the actual islanders.
However, we’re just three days in, so I’m still reserving my judgement there.
Of course, Jama is breathtakingly beautiful. And I say breathtaking because without fail whenever she comes on TV I can’t help but exclaim ‘god she’s so beautiful, isn’t she?’ whether there’s anyone else in the room or not.
I only mention this because Love Island is easily the most shallow series imaginable, to the point that it’s quite unbelievable that it can still get away with churning out the same carbon copy, fat-free islanders every year in an age when the conversation around body diversity has never been louder.
So naturally having a stunning presenter as its face is, I suppose, a given.
But she’s a rare breed of star that TV has been desperately missing.
Whether it’s sport, make-up, or matchmaking influencers, she reserves the same enthusiasm and passion for every single job she works on.
Essentially she just loves her job, and despite being one of the most obviously gifted stars currently in television, she seems to be sincerely thankful for every opportunity that comes her way with not a shred of ego, which I’ve personally found refreshing.
At this point, judging by the reaction to her debut, Love Island needs Maya Jama more than she needs it, but there’s no question that this is the absolute perfect coupling up as she seems set to become a true TV heavyweight in the not-too-distant future.
Whether it will be enough to keep us glued to Winter Love Island, it’s too early to tell. But as for Love Island’s future, it’s certainly a lot brighter with her in it.
Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on ITV2
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
Share your views in the comments below.
MORE : What other shows did Maya Jama work on before she was hired as the host of Love Island?
MORE : Love Island star Maya Jama ‘overwhelmed’ by fan support after making debut as host of 2023 series
MORE : Love Island 2023 host Maya Jama’s full dating timeline from Stormzy to Ben Simmons