Maya Jama

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Maya Jama
Maya Jama 1.jpg
Jama in 2018
Maya Indea Jama

(1994-08-14) 14 August 1994 (age 28)
Bristol, England
  • Television presenter
  • radio presenter
Years active2012–present
Partner(s)Stormzy (2015–2019)
Ben Simmons (2021–2022)

Maya Indea Jama (/ˈɑːmə/ JAH-mə; born 14 August 1994) is an English television presenter and radio DJ. She co-presented BBC One's Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer alongside Peter Crouch and Alex Horne and was the presenter of the BBC Three competition Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star for the third and fourth series and ITV2’s dating series Love Island.

Jama co-presented Trending Live! on 4Music from 2015 until 2017, Cannonball on ITV in 2017, the MTV show True Love or True Lies in 2018, and the first series of The Circle with Alice Levine on Channel 4. In radio, Jama hosted #DriveWithMaya on Rinse FM from 2014 to 2017, and co-presented Radio 1's Greatest Hits and presented her eponymous show, Maya Jama on BBC Radio 1 from 2018 to 2020. In 2023, Jama took over as the host of the popular ITV2 dating reality series, Love Island.

Early life[edit]

Jama was born and raised in Bristol, where she attended Cotham School.[1] She is of Somali descent on her father's side and Swedish descent on her mother's side.[2] Her mother, Sadie, was 19 when she gave birth to Jama, and she named her after the US author and poet Maya Angelou. She also has a brother.[3]

Jama's father was in prison for most of her childhood, for violence-related crimes such as pub brawls and fights. Aged 12, she decided to stop visiting her father in prison and for a decade blocked him from her thoughts.[3] She said in a 2017 interview with The Guardian that she didn't really notice it being a problem: "It was normal for me. My dad's side of my family was super-supportive and they did everything in their power to make me and my brother not feel like we were missing out on anything".[4] While working on the documentary When Dads Kill in 2017, which dealt with young people's experiences similar to her own childhood, she relented and examined her relationship with her own father, by then released from prison, meeting with him in an attempt to elicit answers directly from him; "nothing he said, and nothing his family told her, gave her any real insights" into why he had ended up in prison.[3]

Jama remains close to her mother and occasionally the two appear on talk shows together and attend private celebrity events.[5]



In 2012, Jama moved to London to pursue a media career, first as an actress, then as a TV presenter and fashion model. Acting had been Jama's first ambition, but realised that becoming a presenter might suit her better. Her early role models included Davina McCall and June Sarpong.[4] Jama began her presenting debut as a teenager, presenting the weekly music video countdown on JumpOff.TV, and later worked for Sky UK on TRACE Sports.[6]

In 2014, she hosted Maya's FIFA World Cup Cities for Copa90, a travelogue covering the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[7] She also co-hosted the Copa90 nine-part World Cup Taxi series dedicated to the event.[8][9] In August 2014, Jama joined MTV as a presenter for The Wrap Up.[10]

In February 2017, she worked closely with Brit Awards, hosting their 2017 Pre-Brit Awards Party and hosting a Facebook live stream from the red carpet. In September 2017, she co-presented the Saturday night game show Cannonball on ITV with Andrew Flintoff, Frankie Bridge, Radzi Chinyanganya and Ryan Hand.[11] In September 2017 and February 2018, Jama was a guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women.[12] In November 2017, she became the youngest person (then 23) to co-host the MOBO Awards on Channel 5 with fellow presenter Marvin Humes.[13]

In September 2018, Jama co-presented the first series of The Circle on Channel 4 with Alice Levine. In October 2018, she co-presented Stand Up to Cancer with long-standers Alan Carr and Adam Hills,[14] and became the team captain on ITV2 rap panel show Don't Hate the Playaz presented by Jordan Stephens. In 2019, she appeared on A League of Their Own Road Trip alongside actor and comedian Tom Davis. She appeared on Channel 4's The Big Fat Quiz of the Year in 2019 and 2020.

In early June 2020, she presented the Saturday evening BBC One TV programme Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer. Later that year she co-presented BBC One's New Year's Eve programme The Big New Year's In. In January 2021, the BBC announced that Jama would be the new presenter of Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star, replacing former presenter Stacey Dooley, who presented the first two series of the programme.[15] In February 2021, Jama appeared as a celebrity guest judge during the second series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. In September 2021, it was announced that Jama would be the host of Simon Cowell’s new music competition gameshow Walk The Line.

In October 2022, it was announced that Jama would take over from Laura Whitmore as the presenter of ITV2 dating reality series Love Island.[16]


Between 2014 and 2017, she hosted #DriveWithMaya, a weekday show on Rinse FM.[17]

In 2018, she joined BBC Radio 1, presenting Radio 1's Greatest Hits on Saturdays and co-presenting every Friday with Scott Mills and Chris Stark.[18] From 2018 to 2020, she presented her own show, Maya Jama on Fridays and Saturdays on BBC Radio 1.[19]

On 15 May 2020, the BBC confirmed in a statement that Jama had left Radio 1 after two years. It said she'd made "the difficult decision not to continue her Radio 1 contract" and her final show was already broadcast on 3 May 2020. In an Instagram post, Jama said she had "a lot of exciting commitments" planned for the future, which meant she couldn't continue with her broadcasting segment at Radio 1. She added: "I would like to thank the team for their hard work and friendship during the last two years."[20]

Year Title Role Slot Station
2014–2017 #DriveWithMaya Presenter 4–7pm Weekdays Rinse FM
2018 Scott Mills Co-presenter 1–4pm Fridays BBC Radio 1
2018–2020 Radio 1's Greatest Hits Presenter 10–11am Fridays and Saturdays
2018–2020 Maya Jama 11am–1pm Fridays and Saturdays

Other work[edit]

In 2018, Jama hosted When Life Gives You Melons, a podcast available to streaming platforms in partnership with Freya Lingerie. The podcast featured Jama interviewing all-female guests about work, life and relationships. Guests included Cherry Healey, Vick Hope, Anna Richardson, Vanessa White, Katie Piper, Gemma Cairney and Laura Whitmore.

That same year, Jama became an ambassador for Savera UK which operates across the United Kingdom to provide services to individuals who have experienced or are at risk of ‘Honour’ Based Abuse (HBA) and Harmful Practices. In 2019, she donated blood for an NHS campaign and was found to have the rare and in demand Ro blood subtype.[21]

She also launched a successful clothing collection with PrettyLittleThing in June 2018, followed by a second collection in February 2019.

She is an ambassador for Adidas, and appeared in the European JD Sports Christmas campaign, and is also an ambassador for the Australian hair care brand Aussie. She also appeared in a global GAP campaign and in a Spring/Summer 2019 campaign for Kurt Geiger.

In December 2020, Jama launched her own face and eye masks range, MIJ Masks, with the first release selling out within 24 hours.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Jama lives in West London. She is a keen football fan and supports both Bristol Rovers and West Ham United.[23]

In 2018, a tweet that Jama made when she was 17 surfaced, which detailed her laughing at a tweet that mocked dark-skinned black women. After being accused of colourism, she apologised, stating that she was "an ignorant, stupid child" when the social media post was made in 2012.[24]

Between 2015 and 2019, Jama was in a relationship with British rapper Stormzy; their break-up inspired his 2019 song "Lessons".[25] In 2021, it was reported Jama was dating NBA player Ben Simmons.[26] In August 2022, the couple reportedly ended their engagement. [27]


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Maya's FIFA World Cup Cities Presenter
2015–2017 Trending Live! Regular presenter
2016 The Hot Desk 1 episode
2017–2018 Loose Women Panelist
2017 Cannonball Co-presenter 1 series
2017 The Weakest Link Celebrity Special Contestant Raising money for Children in Need[28]
2017 MOBO Awards Co-host Awards ceremony
2018 True Love or True Lies Presenter
2018 Revolution[29] Co-presenter 1 series
2018 The Circle 1 series
2018 Stand Up to Cancer Biennial beneficial charity show
2018–present Don't Hate the Playaz Team Captain 3 series
2018–2019 BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards Co-presenter Annually
2019 The Big Narstie Show Guest Season 2, Episode 5
2019 The Jonathan Ross Show Guest Series 15, Episode 6[30]
2019 Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2019 Team Member 26 December 2019[31]
2020 Sport Relief
2020 EE BAFTA Presenter
2020 Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer Co-host 1 series
2020 The Duchess Sandra Acting role
2020–present Soccer Aid Pundit [32]
2020 MOBO Awards Co-host Awards ceremony
2020 Sunday Brunch Guest 1 episode[33]
2020 The Jonathan Ross Show Guest Series 16, Episode 10[34]
2020 Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2020 Team member 26 December 2020[35]
2020 The Big New Year's In Co-presenter 31 December 2020[36]
2021 RuPaul's Drag Race UK Guest Judge BBC Three; Series 2[37]
2021 Celebrity Juice Panellist Series 25 only[38]
2021 Big Zuu's Big Eats Guest Spring 2021[39]
2021–2022 Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star Presenter Series 3 & 4
2021 Redknapp's Big Night Out Guest 22 April 2021[40]
2021 Crouchy's Year-Late Euros: Live Co-presenter June 2021; 10-part series[41]
2021 Celebrity Gogglebox Herself Series 3, Episode 9 (Black To Front Special)
2021 Foxy's Fearless 48 Hours With... Herself Episode 2[42]
2021 Stand Up To Cancer 2021 Co-presenter 15 October 2021[43]
2021 Walk The Line Presenter
2021–present The Brits Are Coming Co-presenter
2023–present Love Island Presenter


In November 2019, she won the People's Choice Award for best dressed star.[44] Jama later opened and hosted the 2020 EE BAFTA red carpet in a 5G powered AR dress.


  1. ^ Cork, Tristan (24 February 2018). "Maya Jama on her Cotham School yearbook as teachers say she was destined for stardom". BristolLive. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  2. ^ Burne, Louise (12 April 2020). "All Round to Mrs Brown's viewers ALL said the same thing about Maya Jama's mum". Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Moorhead, Joanna (16 September 2017). "Maya Jama: What made my dad a 'bad' man?". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b Saner, Emine (17 June 2020). "Maya Jama: 'I shouldn't be where I am now'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  5. ^ McKnight, Jenni (7 August 2020). "Maya Jama's mum breaks the internet with rock hard abs in tiny bikini". Hello!. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  6. ^ Edmonds, Lizzie (5 March 2021). "Maya Jama: I want to travel and find myself once the pandemic is over". Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Maya's FIFA World Cup™ Cities Archives • Copa90". Copa90.
  8. ^ "Copa90 Readies FIFA World Cup Programming Slate". Video Ink. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Hyundai offers trip to 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil". Promotional Marketing. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Meet The Wrap Up's New Presenter: Maya Jama". MTV. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Cannonball". ITV. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Loose Women - 22/08/2017". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  13. ^ Gamer, George (23 November 2017). "MOBO Awards 2017 reveal hosts and live performers". Music Week. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Interview with Maya Jama for Stand Up To Cancer". Channel 4. You're going to be presenting Stand Up To Cancer on Channel 4. How are you feeling about taking the helm on such a massive show?
  15. ^ "Maya Jama announced as host for third series of BBC Three's Glow Up: Britain's Next Make Up Star". BBC. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Love Island: Maya JAMA to replace Laura Whitmore as host". BBC News. 12 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Maya Jama leaves BBC Radio 1 after two years". Radio Today. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  18. ^ Kelly, Emma (17 January 2018). "Maya Jama's 2018 is looking pretty bright as she lands two jobs with Radio 1". Metro. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Maya Jama and celebrity guests join Radio 1 weekend line-up". BBC News. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Maya Jama leaves her job as Radio 1 presenter". BBC News. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Blood types in the fastest growing demand revealed". NHS Blood Donation.
  22. ^ "Maya Jama Launches MIJ Masks". The British Beauty Council. 16 December 2020.
  23. ^ Jama, Maya [@MayaJama] (5 March 2020). "for those that don't know I used to be a football presenter on @Copa90 when I was like 18 and one of the series I hosted was "football virgin" still on YouTube now ended up choosing Bristol Rovers as my home team cause of the fam and later loved West Ham" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 January 2021 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "Maya Jama: I was 'ignorant' for mocking dark-skinned black women". BBC News. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  25. ^ Desantis, Marissa (13 December 2019). "Stormzy apologizes to ex Maya Jama in 'Lessons' on new album Heavy Is The Head". Evening Standard.
  26. ^ Gulla, Emily (5 July 2021). "Maya Jama and Ben Simmons make relationship official after being pictured kissing". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  27. ^ Lemoncelli, Jenna (31 August 2022). "Ben Simmons, fiancée Maya Jama end their engagement". New York Post. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  28. ^ "Weakest Link Celebrity Special 2017". Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  29. ^ "Lost in TV - REVOLUTION".
  30. ^ "The Jonathan Ross Show: Series 15 - Episode 6". Radio Times.
  31. ^ "Big Fat Quiz". Channel 4.
  32. ^ "Who is Maya Jama in Soccer Aid 2021?". 4 September 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  33. ^ "Sunday Brunch". Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  34. ^ "The Jonathan Ross Show". Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Big Fat Quiz". Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  36. ^ "Big New Year's In: Maya Jama presents with Paddy McGuinness". Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  37. ^ "Three more new guest judges confirmed for Drag Race UK". Instagram. RuPaul's Drag Race UK. 27 December 2020. Archived from the original on 26 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Maya Jama set to join Celebrity Juice panel". 31 March 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  39. ^ "Big Zuu's Big Eats". Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  40. ^ "Redknapp's Big Night Out 1". Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  41. ^ "Brand new entertainment series Crouchy's Year Late Euros: Live is set to kick off on BBC One this summer". Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  42. ^ "Foxy's Fearless 48 Hours With..." Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  43. ^ "Stand Up To Cancer". Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  44. ^ "People's Choice Awards: Maya Jama wins UK & Ireland best dressed star". Sky News.

External links[edit]