12 July 2023
Maya Jama is British Vogue August 2023 Cover Star

N​​ot every Vogue cover story starts on a podium at G-A-Y Late, Soho’s least underground gay bar, clutching £3 tequila sodas and dancing to euphoric pop girlies, but Maya Jama is nothing if not game. She’s game to meet by the Spice Girls staircase at London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (“I was always Scary Spice, because she was the wildest”). She’s game to try her first ever Martini (she takes one sip, grimaces, and taps out). She’s game for no-holds-barred dinner chat (racism in Britain is quite the appetiser, but a second later she’ll be talking about learning to drive: “If you live in London, there’s not much point. Like, where the f**k do you even park?”).

At quarter to maybe-we-should-wrap-this-up, she hails us a cab to Soho and before we know it we’ve been frisked by security and are bobbing happily in a sea of plastic-cup-carrying gays. She says people don’t usually recognise her “until I speak”, on account of her radio voice, but we’re repeatedly approached in the cordoned-off smoking area where she’s all politeness and chat. Chat, we both agree in the fug of smoke, is Maya’s superpower.

Subscribe to British Vogue to