Maya Jama: Working at clothes store kept presenting dream alive

Emma Powell
Dream believer: Radio 1's Maya Jama: Tristan Fewings/Getty

Maya Jama is busy upping her profile on Radio 1 — but says she has her old job at Urban Outfitters to thank in part for her success.

Jama, who is dating Stormzy, co-presents a show with Scott Mills and fronts Greatest Hits on Saturdays. She told how working at the clothes store helped keep her presenting dream alive, as staff would constantly discuss their future plans.

“It was super-social and everyone in there had a dream,” she told A List. “It was like, ‘We’ll go to work and do this but we’ve all got this dream,’ and you’d share it in the changing room.

“I used to constantly talk about it, pretty much everything I’m doing now. I’m super-grateful and blessed and I have to pinch myself now and again.”

New campaign: Maya Jama is working with eBay

Jama also co-presents ITV gameshow Cannonball and Sky One’s Revolution, and this year became the youngest person to host the Mobo Awards, at 23.

She said she “100 per cent” had moments when she thought she would never make it after leaving retail. “There were a lot of jobs where I’d go for a screen test and you’d set yourself on getting them, so when I didn’t I’d be devastated and think, ‘God I’ve only got £20 to last me,’” she said.

Power couple: Maya Jama with her boyfriend Stormzy (Dave Benett)

“It makes you scared but you have to remind yourself why you want to do it in the first place.”

Jama, who is an ambassador for eBay’s new spring campaign, said she is aware of impressionable young girls who look up to her, so is keen to share images of herself looking “silly and rough”.

She said: “When I was younger you’d have magazines and look at Beyoncé and be like ‘OK they’re amazing but they’re a celebrity so it’s completely unachievable’ whereas now you see 10,000 photos and you naturally compare yourself to everything you see.”