Maya Jama has spoken out about how she came to land the job as the new host of Love Island.
Love Island is set to return for its ninth series later this month, with a new villa in South Africa, a new January slot in the schedule and a brand new presenter.
However, Maya has long been a favourite of Love Island fans to host the show, ever since the late Caroline Flack announced she would not be presenting the winter series back in 2020.
In a new interview with The Times, Maya – who celebrated her 28th birthday last summer – admitted she thought her age may have been a contributing factor in her not landing the job sooner.
The Glow Up presenter explained: “Once you start doing TV, you meet a lot of producers, through different shows, and the heads will be aware of talent. That’s weird to call yourself talent, isn’t it? I talk for a living. It’s not exactly tap dancing everywhere or performing a ballad.
“So I think I’ve always been in their eye line, but I was super young when the presenter shifts were happening in the past.
“They knew about me but I was always a bit too young, and obviously, there were previous hosts anyway.”
“Then, this year, I got a phone call while I was in America,” Maya continued.
She added that she said yes to the opportunity “straight away”, describing it as a “golden ticket”.
Maya has inherited the job of Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore, who announced in 2022 that she was stepping away from the show after three seasons at the helm.
Laura Whitmore pictured ahead of last year's Love Island launch
“Love Island is a show that I love to watch, and I always want to work on shows that I enjoy. But there’s nothing more that I can do with it,” Laura claimed in September. “There are parameters.
“When you work on the show, you can’t really talk about certain things. But I’m really proud of what I did, and proud to leave on what I think has been a brilliant series, with great winners.”
She has since said: “If I could [have done] things the way I wanted to, I’d probably still be doing it.”
Love Island returns to ITV2 on Monday 16 January.