Maya Jama has spoken about the trauma of losing her ex-boyfriend at the age of 16 after he was shot dead outside a pub.
Jama was 16 years old when Rico Gordon, 21, was killed in her hometown of Bristol after he became caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs.
Recalling the experience in a new interview with Cosmopolitan, the former Radio 1 DJ explained the impact it had on her.
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“When I was 16 I went through a lot,” the now-25-year-old told the publication.
“With my boyfriend passing, it gave me a fearless approach to things. I felt like life was really short.
“Out of everything that [has] happened in my life, that was a reality check on a massive scale.
“At 16 you think the world is a fairytale and it took me out of that. It made me even more determined.”
Jama, who moved to London shortly after the incident to start her career in broadcasting, went on to say how different her life would be today if she hadn’t dealt with such trauma in her teens.
“If it hadn’t been for going through those difficulties, my whole perception of life would be different,“ she said.
“I don’t let myself get wound up over smaller things because I know what it’s like to feel actual pain. I don’t dwell on a lot.“
Jama continued that she “should have gone off the rails” after what happened.
“It feels like my career was the thing that saved that from happening because I had hope and there was something to look forward to,” she added.
“When you go through trauma, if you don’t have something to look forward to, that’s when you can get stuck in a rut.“