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Maya Jama: Hosting my first summer series of Love Island feels special

The 28-year-old took over the presenting role from Laura Whitmore for the last winter series in South Africa.

Maya Jama
Maya Jama

Maya Jama has said hosting her first summer series of Love Island feels “special” but admitted she feels pressure to live up to expectations after being praised during her debut earlier this year.

The broadcaster, 28, took over the presenting role on the hit ITV dating show from Laura Whitmore for the last winter series in South Africa.

Ahead of the show’s return to screens on Monday, she revealed what it is like being the face of a series which counts famous faces including Margot Robbie, Tobey Maguire and Amy Schumer among its fans.

Speaking to reporters at the villa in Majorca about the summer series, she said: “It’s special. I feel now (after) the first one, I’ve got it and we’ve done it, all the nerves are gone a bit and now I’m ready to go.”

“I’m so excited. It’s coming around so fast, I feel like we were just doing it yesterday and now it’s like ‘back at it again’,” she added.

Jama was lauded by fans for her lavish outfits and presenting style while delivering dramatic updates to the contestants in the villa last series.

Reflecting about returning to the show, she said: “The only pressure I feel is because it went well last time, so I just want to keep it well.”

She added that she does not feel there is much of a difference between the summer and winter editions except that the flight from Majorca to London is easier for her when moving between filming the show and its spin-off Aftersun rather travelling from South Africa.

Bristol-born Jama was initially touted as a potential host after it was confirmed that Caroline Flack would be stepping down as host of the programme in 2019, before the role was given to Whitmore, 37.

She later landed the role after Whitmore stepped down and it follows on from a varied career in the entertainment world which has seen her host a show on BBC Radio 1, present the Mobo Awards and BBC Three’s Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star.

Jama revealed the show was always a dream gig for her, saying: “I think because I’ve literally watched it since series one and I had all the opinions and been part of the Twitter crew. It’s such a key part of our culture.”

However, she admitted that fronting the show has changed things in her life.

“It definitely changed stuff. My mum was like ‘before it would be just young people that would be like ‘Oh your daughter’ and now it’s the nans, even though you wouldn’t expect them to watch Love Island’,” she said.

It is not only the British public who recognise her for the role but also people from across the world as she recalled how a security woman at New York immigration recently wanted to gossip with her about the show.

She also revealed that Spider-Man star Maguire recently told her he was a “big fan” when they sat beside each other at a dinner.

“He loves the show. He’s a big fan. He knew all the series and everything,” she revealed.

Jama will be delivering news of recouplings and dumpings to a new batch of 10 islanders which includes a semi-professional footballer deaf in one ear, a musical theatre performer and a girl turned off by boys with lunch boxes.

She said she thinks the group of contestants are “great”, adding: “They’re all really beautiful and they seem really fun and up for it.”

Ahead of the summer series launch, fans are being given the chance to vote on the Love Island app for which contestants will be paired up, with voting closing at 9pm on Friday.

Love Island returns to ITV2 and ITVX on Monday June 5.

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