Maya Jama has described being the first non-white host of Love Island as a “big moment” and hopes it will open “more doors”.
The presenter, 28, has taken charge of the ITV2 dating competition after Laura Whitmore announced she was stepping down last summer.
She made her much-anticipated debut on Monday’s Winter 2023 Series Launch Show and was enthusiastically received by fans.
‘This is definitely a big moment’: Maya Jama has spoken out about being the first non-white Love Island host and said she hopes it will open ‘more doors’
Maya, who is of Somali and Swedish descent, has become the first non-white host of Love Island, with Laura, 37, and Caroline Flack previously holding the role.
Speaking about joining the show, Maya described it as a “big moment for all of us” after Love Island was previously criticized for its lack of diversity.
The radio DJ went on to say that she hopes her role as presenter will open “more doors” for people from a similar background to hers.
She told Vogue: “Growing up, I never saw an East African woman host a show and no black or multiracial woman hosts a primetime TV show that big, except June Sarpong.
New face: The presenter, 28, has taken charge of the ITV2 dating competition after Laura Whitmore announced she was stepping down last summer
“In that sense, this is definitely a big moment for all of us, and I hope it opens a lot more doors for other people with similar backgrounds and cultures to mine.”
Maya, named after poet Maya Angelou, was born in 1994 to parents Hussein and Sadie. Hussein’s parents emigrated from Somalia in East Africa.
Maya has taken over the hosting of Love Island from Laura, who became the second-ever host when she joined the dating reality show in 2020.
She hosted the popular reality TV show and its spin-off program Aftersun for three series before stepping down last summer.
‘I hope it opens a lot more doors’: Maya, who is of Somali and Swedish descent, has become the first non-white host, with Laura, 37, and Caroline Flack previously filling the role
Impressed: She made her much-anticipated debut on Monday’s Winter 2023 series launch show and was enthusiastically received by fans
In her statement, Laura said she only plans to fill in for Caroline on a series and emotionally said she hopes she has made her late boyfriend “proud”.
Laura replaced Caroline as Love Island presenter when she stepped down in December 2019. Caroline tragically took her own life in February 2020 at the age of 40.
Laura announced she was leaving the show last summer, saying: “Some news! I will not be hosting the next series of Love Island.
“There are certain elements of the show that I have found very difficult and cannot be changed due to the format, including flying back and forth to South Africa along with my new conflicting projects.
Presenter: Laura replaced Caroline as presenter of Love Island when she stepped down in December 2019
“I wish it was still possible, but I know you’re in safe hands. I was only going to fill in for Caroline for 1 series and that ended up being 3 series. I hope I made you proud Caroline.’
Speaking of Laura’s exit at the time, an ITV spokesman said: “Laura has been a fantastic presenter for the last three series of the show.
“We are so grateful for everything she has brought to the programme, but we understand and respect her decision and look forward to working with her on upcoming ITV projects.”
Presenter: Laura managed Love Island and its spin-off program Aftersun for three series before stepping down last summer
Laura later did a dig at Love Island when she blamed the “parameters of the show” for her decision to leave.
She told The Evening Standard: “Love Island is a show I enjoy watching and I always want to work on shows that I enjoy.
‘But that’s all I can do with it. There are parameters.
“When you’re working on the show, you can’t really talk about certain things. But I’m really proud of what I’ve done and proud to be exiting what I think has been a brilliant streak with great winners.
Awkward: Laura later did a dig at Love Island when she blamed the ‘parameters of the show’ for her decision to leave