By Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter
Broadcaster Maya Jama said she immediately accepted the offer to host hit ITV2 dating show Love Island after getting the call while on holiday in America.
The TV and radio presenter’s first outing as host will be later this month when the reality series returns for its first winter series, set in South Africa, since before the coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old took over from Laura Whitmore, 37, who announced she was stepping down in August.
— ITV (@ITV) January 6, 2023
Speaking to The Times magazine about how she got the role, Jama said: “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.”
Jama revealed that she did not have to audition for the role and said yes “straight away”, describing the job as a “golden ticket”.
The presenter, who has been a fan of the show since the first series, said her best friend was the first to find out the good news.
— ITV (@ITV) January 4, 2023
Talking about her preparations for the show, she said: “I am shy about that walk. It’s big, isn’t it, the slow-motion walk? Me and my girlfriends, we were drunk, doing the walk, up and down the hall. Tried the sexy version. Tried the smiley version. Smiley version won.”
New additions to this series include Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson and Indiyah Polack, who was a finalist on the show last year, joining as regular panellists on Love Island’s Aftersun programme.
For the first time, contestants will this series have to disable their social media accounts during their time on the show in a bid to protect both themselves and their families from online abuse.
Contestants will also receive “guidance and training” around “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships” after the last series prompted thousands of complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
These are in addition to other duty-of-care measures introduced for previous series.
Love Island is set to return to ITV2 on January 16th.