Love Island: Maya Jama on Taking Over as New Host

Fan favourite Love Island returns to ITV2 on Monday 16 January, Maya Jama is the show’s new host and here she tells us about how she celebrated getting the hosting job and what must haves she has her in her suitcase.

How does it feel to be the host of Love Island?
It feels amazing, it’s really, really exciting. It’s been a weird feeling because you find out and then it’s the wait and the build up. I just can’t wait for it to start. I’m counting down the seconds and the days to get to South Africa.

Where were you when you found out and who was the first person you told?
I was in New York. The first person I told was my best friend in Bristol. She swore loads…

How did you celebrate?
I celebrated with different people each time. I celebrated with who I was around when I found out, then I celebrated when I got back to London. I feel like I’ll celebrate more after it’s done, then we can be like, ‘Yay we did it!’ rather than getting too excited before it’s happened.

Was it hard keeping it a secret?
Really hard, especially when there’s loads of rumours flying around. I’m not a good liar. Even my mum I didn’t tell because she’d get too excited and tell people. So I had to not even tell my close family.

What have you always loved about the show as a viewer?
I’ve been a fan for years. It was the first reality show, other than Big Brother, that I made sure I was back at a certain time to watch and all my friends and family were speaking about. Everyone gets involved, everyone has opinions – from the older people in your family to the younger ones. It’s just fun, it’s fun to see how people play out in different situations and wonder what you would do if you were in the same position. Most of us have had a bit of a holiday romance before and it’s like watching that on telly.

Are you in a WhatsApp group with other celebs about the show? Who do you chat to about it usually?
I’m not in a specific Love Island WhatsApp group but I’m in loads of different WhatsApp groups where Love Island would get brought up.

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What are you most excited to see/do?
I’m excited to see the Villa! I’m excited to see the size of it, the beds, walk around… you watch it on TV and it looks humongous.

What do you think makes a good Islander?
Someone that’s looking for love, someone with a lively personality, somebody who is open and shares their feelings, but also someone that’s not afraid to keep their options open and test the waters. Just someone that’s willing to get stuck in and get fully involved in every bit of the experience and all the challenges. Make the most of it! And allow it to be a proper test and see if your relationship can carry on through that, rather than play it safe. I think that’s what makes the best Islander.

What challenges stand out to you and why?
I always like the talent show, I feel like that’s the highlight. I would be so shy to do that. I’m always so impressed with the moves and the confidence to come out and strut your stuff like that. I actually have thought about that before, if I was in the show and I had to do the talent show what would I do? Maybe a lip sync battle would be good. Or, like Indiyah, I played the recorder in year 4…

What’s the most memorable on show moment for you?
When Josh came back in with Kaz, that was a massive moment. And Chris, Kem and Olivia. Olivia and Chris’s dynamic and Chris and Kem’s relationships was one of my highlights, watching that blossom.

Did you have any traditions when watching as a viewer?
I always make sure I record it, so that if I am with people I can rewind whenever they’re talking over the juicy bits! I’ll be the one to rewind and pause and then have a chat about what’s just happened and debrief.

What’s been your favourite epic date over the years and why?
Now we’re heading back to South Africa, it would be good to have another safari date.

When it comes to Aftersun, are you most excited to chat to the Islanders that have left the villa, or are you excited to meet the friends and family?
The Islanders just to get a different perspective as they were actually in it so they know more than anyone what it’s like. But also the family members, they give the most tea because they’ve got a whole other view and also if their son/daughter/ sister etc’s chosen partner would be accepted into the family and how it would work on the outside – you can ask the family members those kinds of questions.

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Who will be messaging you the most about Love Island wanting all the latest updates?
My friends from school, my Bristol friends. They’ll be asking everything.

What is an absolute MUST for you to pack when going on a trip? What’s already definitely going into your Love Island suitcase?
A speaker, always to start the day with music on speakers. Dry shampoo, I take that on every trip. Sun cream! And I’ve just started using silk pillowcases because someone told me it’s better for your hair and skin. I’m yet to find out the results.

What’s your favourite bit of Love Island merchandise? What do you use most often?
The eye mask! I wear it on the plane.

Has anyone been asking you to get them in the Villa?
Yes! Loads of my guy friends. It’s like the joke at the moment with people saying, ‘Do you think I can go in the Villa?’ That’s an ongoing thing. Some of them probably could do well!

Music is a huge part of Love Island – what songs would you like to hear on the soundtrack this year?
Kehlani, she’s got loads of love songs. The one with the line, ‘Can I come over’ they could use when they walk over to the fire pit.

Who would you love to see drop in as a surprise guest in the Villa and why?
Alison Hammond! She’d just be great to big up the vibe. Or, Louis Theroux could get to the bottom of a lot of stuff, maybe Oprah… music wise Anne-Marie – you want someone that is dance music, as the Islanders want to dance. Or Central Cee, everyone loves him.

Adam Collard made a surprise return last year – who would you like to see return and why?
Theo! I found him hilarious. That line about ‘leave with them’ – it was that. We were all feeling it and Theo actually said it. You need that honesty sometimes!

Do you want to see Casa Amor back this year?
Yeah 100%. I feel like that’s one of the best moments. We’d all secretly want to know what our partner gets up to when they’re on a lads’ or girls’ holiday.

Love Island returns to ITV2 and ITVX on Monday 16 January 2023.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.