Jess, aged 32, is a two-time Commonwealth Games beach volleyball athlete, representing Team England at both the 2018 and 2022 Games. Maia, who is 24 years old, made her cricket debut in Birmingham.
Their unexpected friendship began when they crossed paths in the athlete’s village during the Games, and over the course of nearly a year, it evolved into a loving relationship.
As per Maia, they first interacted at the end of the Opening Ceremony and connected through social media. Maia, who has been openly gay since her teenage years, found acceptance and comfort in her brother’s heartfelt conversation about her sexuality. Jess, on the other hand, had only dated men before the Birmingham Games and discovered a new side of herself through her interest in Maia.
The couple’s relationship flourished, with Maia showing genuine interest in Jess’s beach volleyball career. Jess, who had never been attracted to females before, found herself drawn to Maia’s personality and companionship. They took their friendship to a deeper level after the Games when Maia visited Jess in Bournemouth.
Being in her first same-sex relationship, Jess believes in prioritizing her happiness and embracing her true self. Maia shares this sentiment and aims to promote inclusive relationships in the world of sports.
For both of them, visibility and open discussions about their relationship are important. They want to highlight that inclusivity is vital in sports and relationships, no matter the background or orientation of the individuals involved.
Currently living in Bournemouth, Jess works as a sports therapist, while Maia travels across the country representing Southern Vipers and England in cricket.
Though they are at different stages in their sporting careers, their memories with Team England will always hold a special place in their hearts. Both cherish the experience of playing at the Commonwealth Games, and Jess, in particular, appreciates the support of English fans during the Games.
While Jess is transitioning away from international sports to focus on her full-time job and domestic cricket, she remains open to the possibility of returning to international sports in the future. Regardless of her sporting path, she looks forward to supporting Maia in any future endeavors.