Published On: Wed, Apr 28th, 2021

Maya Jama reveals she ‘accepted’ her father’s absence growing up

Maya Jama has revealed that growing up without her father present was not something she ‘sat at home and cried about’ in a new interview with Marie Claire.

The TV presenter’s dad spent much of her childhood in and out of prison for various sentences but Maya told how anything that seemed sad in her life, she would make a joke out of.

She said: ‘Anything that seems tragic or could make people feel sorry for me, I make a joke out of. I guess it’s because I’m OK with it. I’ve accepted it and I don’t want you making me feel like you’re sorry for me. 

Honest: Maya Jama has revealed that growing up without her father present was not something she ‘sat at home and cried about’.

‘If people said, ‘Where’s your dad?’ I’d say, ‘Oh, he’s in jail’ and I’d laugh about it. It wasn’t something I sat at home and cried about.’

Maya added that she enjoys a good relationship with her stepfather and is grateful she got to see a ‘loving relationship’ play out between him and her mother Sadie.

She said: ‘When I was 10, my mum met my stepfather and he is the loveliest man. So I got to see a loving relationship, which I think is what can affect young women growing up without a dad – not experiencing love first-hand and seeing how a healthy relationship should be. Dad wasn’t around, but I had all the love I needed from elsewhere.’

Having been in the public eye since her late teens, Maya has had to deal with trolling in the past which she has learned to ‘have a laugh about’.

Childhood: The TV presenter's dad spent much of her childhood in and out of prison for various sentences but Maya told how anything that seemed sad in her life, she would make a joke out of

Childhood: The TV presenter’s dad spent much of her childhood in and out of prison for various sentences but Maya told how anything that seemed sad in her life, she would make a joke out of

She said: ‘Someone called me ‘Michael Jackson nose’. I’d never ever thought about my nose before, but then after hearing that I was in the mirror for a week, like, ‘Does it look like Michael Jackson’s?’

‘Strangers can make you question things you’ve always been sure about before. Now I can have a laugh about it because I’m used to it and nobody’s ever said anything horrible to my face, luckily. 

‘I can see online comments and think, ‘The person saying that wouldn’t say this to my face and they’re probably not happy because nobody happy attacks somebody they don’t know’. 

‘That thought process helps you understand it and feel sorry for the person, rather than sad about yourself.’ 

She said: 'If people said, 'Where's your dad?' I'd say, 'Oh, he's in jail' and I'd laugh about it. It wasn't something I sat at home and cried about'

She said: ‘If people said, ‘Where’s your dad?’ I’d say, ‘Oh, he’s in jail’ and I’d laugh about it. It wasn’t something I sat at home and cried about’

Stunning: Maya sported colourful eye make-up and a couture outfit in the stunning shoot

Stunning: Maya sported colourful eye make-up and a couture outfit in the stunning shoot

Strike a pose: Maya wowed in a chic outfit with padded shoulders as she posed

Strike a pose: Maya wowed in a chic outfit with padded shoulders as she posed

Maya also discussed sexism in the work place, saying she never noticed any difference between how she and her male colleagues were treated until she discovered some were paid more than her for the same job.

She said: ‘When I got interviewed in the early days, people were like, ‘Do you notice sexism in the workplace?’. I was like, ‘No, not at all, I get treated exactly the same as my co-hosts’. 

‘Then, not long into it, I’d find out they actually got paid more than me for exactly the same job. And me being like, ‘What?!’ I know companies and channels have to make more of an effort to make everything equal now, but back then it wasn’t like that.’ 

Maya said she has asked her male co-hosts in the past what they were earning, however in some cases she noted a person’s ‘platform’ can affect their pay.

Thick skin: Having been in the public eye since her late teens, Maya has had to deal with trolling in the past which she has learned to 'have a laugh about'

Thick skin: Having been in the public eye since her late teens, Maya has had to deal with trolling in the past which she has learned to ‘have a laugh about’

She said: ‘If I’ve got a co-host and it’s a man, I’ll just ask [how much he’s being paid]. If it’s someone I’m working with I’ll say, ‘How much are you getting paid for this?’. 

‘I’ve definitely asked good friends like Will Best [her co-host on 4Music]. I haven’t asked anyone else recently, but if I thought it was going to be a complete landslide and we were doing the same job, I’d ask. 

‘Why not? In some cases there’s someone with a bigger platform and that makes sense. But when the only difference is your sex and somebody’s getting paid differently? That’s not OK.’

Born and raised in Bristol, Maya told how she had a group of older boys that her mother used to babysit who would look out for her. 

She said: ‘Every woman in my family is super-strong and a go-getter. Because my mum used to babysit boys in our area, I had older boys who would look out for me. 

Maya said: 'Strangers can make you question things you've always been sure about before. Now I can have a laugh about it because I'm used to it and nobody's ever said anything horrible to my face, luckily'

Maya said: ‘Strangers can make you question things you’ve always been sure about before. Now I can have a laugh about it because I’m used to it and nobody’s ever said anything horrible to my face, luckily’

‘If they saw me out, they’d be like, ‘Maya, we’re dropping you home’. It was a community and that really impacted who I was as a person growing up, especially with men.’ 

The TV star became a millionaire at the tender age of 24 and purchased a house in the same year.

She said: ‘It wasn’t a life goal of mine – maybe because I didn’t think it was in reach. People don’t think about buying houses where I came from until you’re like 45. 

‘But I think I’m smart with money and I don’t really spend on anything other than food and travel. And I work my bloody arse off, so I save loads.’

To read the interview in full, visit MarieClaire.co.uk. 

Success: The TV star became a millionaire at the tender age of 24 and purchased a house in the same year

Success: The TV star became a millionaire at the tender age of 24 and purchased a house in the same year 

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