Love Island presenter Maya Jama has put her almost universal appeal down to being from Bristol, in a cover feature interview with Vogue magazine. The former Cotham School pupil was asked whether she could ‘surmise her allure’ - Vogue writer Raven Smith’s words - but the modest TV personality gave the credit to her home city.
“I’ve never met a p***k from Bristol,” Maya replied with an answer that Vogue said ‘wasn’t quite answering’. “We’re really good people, and it’s a weird balance between still being a city but everyone’s entwined. A big sense of community,” she added.
Maya grew up in Ashley Down and went to primary school there, before heading up to Cotham School - a place she’s been back to visit after her long and arduous rise to fame following her decision to leave Bristol at the age of 16 to start at the bottom rung of the TV ladder.
In a wide-ranging interview covering her ongoing stint as a presenter on Love Island, the Bristolian said she would never dream of entering the villa as a contestant herself, because she’s not confident enough. “I would not be able to, at any age, strut out of the house in a bikini in front of men that are judging me based on just one sentence and what I look like,” she said. “The confidence of the people that go on! They’ve got a different kind of juice.”
The interview also addressed her long relationship with rapper Stormzy, and how their status as a ‘power couple’ in the late 2010s was important for British culture: “None of us really knew the level of importance it held to a certain group of people, us being together,” she said. “We were both super ambitious. We were both from similar upbringings and we were both just little grafters that have made something good of ourselves,” she added.
And she also covered her unwanted position at the top of gossip columns around the world, following her engagement and break-up with an NBA basketball star.
“At the end of the day, I am a TV host. I’m a presenter, I’m not a reality star. I’m not someone that puts all my business out there. I’ve never really offered up my personal life, I’ve just done my job and that’s kind of come with it,” she told Vogue. “So I think I do have a right to keep some bits private.
“I do love a party. I am super boisterous and a bit gross and not that classy. My number one rule is don’t look at comments, but I had a relapse. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to show your photo, or you don’t have to show your name, but there is just this huge, huge community of people that are just f***ing horrible, horrible people. And they all combine in this little space and they believe everything they read and they think everyone’s disgusting,” she added.