The TV presenter, 28, moved to London aged 16 to try and make it in the entertainment industry and said she “hustled” to make ends meet.
Some of this hustling included pretending she had lost her Oyster card in order to get to work without paying and juggling jobs as a shop assistant and showrunner.
She explained: “I was broke, pretending I’d lost my Oyster card every day so I could get to work.
“Hustling my little way around London, having £1 chicken shop meals every day, but I was happy.
“I was working and I was living in London, I felt like I was getting somewhere. I’d just work as much as I could.”
Jama added: “I was fearless. I think it’s the background I come from."
The former BBC radio 1 presenter is currently in South Africa ahead of her new gig as Love Island host for its winter series.
She bagged the role after former host Laura Whitmore, 37, left the show citing scheduling conflicts.
Jama, who will host Winter Love Island when it returns to ITV on January 16, also opened up about her own dating journey, which famously includes her relationship with rapper Stormzy.
Opening up about the romance, which ended in 2019 amid allegations that he was unfaithful, Jama told The Times: "We were so young when we met, just beginning our careers.
"I was starting at MTV. He’d not even released a single at that point. We were just little babies."
She added: "We were just young and in love and we’re going to go for it and work really hard. We’re just together.
"We never really did red carpets. We didn’t do any of that stuff."
The pair both attended London’s GQ Men of the Year event separately last year and reportedly were inseparable at the event.
A source told The Sun: “They spent loads of time together at the afterparty and were chatting in a corner for ages.
“It seemed as though they went somewhere else together afterwards because she walked out and then he followed her out five minutes later.”
However, Jama, who recently split from former fiancé NBA star Ben Simmons due to their “non-stop careers” insisted she and Stormzy had not rekindled their romance.
She insisted: “I’m really, really single right now. Newly single. It’s only been a month... but it’s nice.”