Love Island host Maya Jama says she's 'protective' over contestants but admits: 'I’m here for the drama!'

On Monday, 3 June, Love Island returned to our screens for a sizzling new summer series, bringing with it a much-needed dose of Majorcan sun and ridiculously-toned singletons ready to put themselves out there in their search for love.

Of course, at the helm is one person perfectly placed to host the show’s infamous re-coupling ceremonies – Maya Jama, having recently re-coupled with her own celebrity boyfriend, Stormzy.

The pair rekindled their romance last year, following their 2019 split, before Stormzy jetted out to Cape Town for the All Stars final in February and pledged to do the same to be with Maya in Spain.

Maya James poses in a floral dress
Maya is back to host another series of Love Island -Credit:ITV/REX/Shutterstock

It’s no secret that stunning Maya, 29, with her star quality and warm personality (not to mention that insane figure) makes as much of an impact when she struts into the villa in one of her knockout ensembles as the show’s bombshells.

Discussing her fashion choices this season, which she chooses carefully with the help of her stylist, Rhea, Maya says, “I’m quite consistent with my vibes, very beach party daytime looks and then, at night, I love a sleek black dress for dramatic moments.”

It helps, of course, that grime star Stormzy is “cute and encouraging” of the often revealing outfits she wears in the series, which Maya has watched since the first season.

Maya Jama and boyfriend Stormzy
Maya said her boyfriend Stormzy is 'cute and encouraging' -Credit:Instagram/mayajama

Reminiscing over the last All Stars series, Maya recalls how she bonded with winner Molly Smith during her exit interview. When talk turned to how fans had wanted Molly to reunite with ex Callum Jones, Maya gestured to Stormzy as she remembered being encouraged to get back with him, after he publicly declared pining for her on his album, This Is What I Mean .

She explains sweetly that once she gets to know contestants, they become, “like her little babies” and she feels “protective” over them, something that comes across on air.

“I like to relate to them but there’s a level, you can’t be like, ‘Yeah, anyway, I had this experience…’ you have to remember you’re the host,” says Maya. “It’s nice if you can relate to them about a specific situation, just to make them feel a bit more like we’re
all in it together. I’m a similar age to them, too, so I understand. We’ve all been through some experiences like that, so I feel like we have a bond.”

Maya Jama in a white dress
The host said she can relate to Love Island contestants -Credit:ITV/Coco Van Oppens/REX/Shutterstock

The Bristol native admits her other half was particularly enthusiastic when joining her during the last series. “He came out to South Africa and was so excited to see everything,” she says. “I’ve been watching since series one – he got brought along
halfway through.”

Maya herself, of course, is at the top of her game – she has captured viewers’ hearts since she took over as Love Island host last year, and, together, she and Stormzy are easily one of the nation’s favourite couples. The two first met when she interviewed him for MTV in 2014 and, since then, her career has skyrocketed.

She went on to present on Radio 1, host prime-time TV and, last month, she was overheard asking none other than King Charles about Love Island when they met at an event. “We had a laugh,” she smiles. “He was chuckling, he had a giggle.”

The stylish star has also ascended to fashion royalty, hosting the British Fashion Awards and gracing the cover of Vogue – yet she insists, despite her great success in recent years, that she is still totally down to earth, and not above buying clothing from high-street stores.

Maya Jama in a striped dress
The Love Island host loves shopping on the high street -Credit:Getty Images for MTV

“Do I still shop in Primark? I shop wherever I want to shop!” she laughs heartily. “If you want pants, socks, whatever, I’ll go on the high street, definitely. I don’t feel you should ever be too good to shop anywhere, put it that way.”

Back in March, Maya was one of the hosts of the BRIT Awards – another impressive string added to her bow. Indeed, she says she has now achieved all the ambitions she had as a teenager – so now she’s thinking about adding some more.

One of them is to pull some strings as a producer on Love Island, which she swiftly admits, “is not my job title… yet.”

“I’m a fan of the show. I’ve grown up with reality TV, so, maybe one day,” she says. “I actually need to set new goals. I feel so fortunate that one of my childhood dreams happened now, before I’m 30.”

This August, following the grand finale of Love Island, Maya hits that 30th birthday milestone. Is there anything about it that worries her?

Maya Jama wearing leather gloves
Maya turns 30 this year -Credit:Getty Images

“It’s pressure,” she admits. “When you’ve thrown parties every year for your birthday, it kind of feels like, when you’re 30, it needs to be the biggest ever. It makes me feel like I should do the opposite and go on a little boat ride and do some yoga.”

Before that big bash, Maya will spend the next eight weeks or so flying back and forth to Love Island ’s Majorcan villa for the current series, which bosses hope will be the sexiest ever, as the famous Hideaway is opened up permanently – meaning couples can sneak off for a spot of private time whenever they fancy.

No doubt, there will be plenty of drama (there has been enough already!) – something die-hard fan Maya is as excited for as the rest of us. As she confesses, a glint in her eye, “I’m here for the drama, always! It can’t just be smooth sailing. You need something to rough it up a bit!” Let the games begin.