Is Maid a true story? How a book by the real life Alex inspired Netflix's Maid

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Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Maid on Netflix has caught the attention and earned the praise of many viewers for its poignant depiction of a single mum escaping an abusive relationship to seek a better future.

The new series stars Margaret Qualley as single mother Alex, who gets away from her partner Sean (Nick Robinson) and finds work as a maid in order to make a better life for her daughter Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet).

According to the official series synopsis, Alex "turns to housecleaning to – barely – make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy.

“Seen through the emotional yet humorous lens of a desperate but determined woman, this series is a raw and inspiring exploration of a mother’s resilience."

The streaming giant says the show “has the power to connect with our members around the world as they identify with her struggles and root for her success."

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

But did you know the inspirational story is based on a the memoir of a real person, Stephanie Land? And that Alex's experiences in the show mirror what Stephanie went through in real life?

In 2019, Land published her memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive, which documented her efforts to create a better life for her child after leaving an abusive relationship, navigating the US' social support system along the way.

After working as a maid for six years, Land moved to Montana and used student loans and grants to start an English degree. During that time she started writing about her experience in blog posts and had her work published in The Huffington Post and Vox in 2015, according to Newsweek.

Land later elaborated on her experience in her 2019 book, which hit the number three spot on the New York Times Best Seller List.

The same year, Land told The Telegraph that she was "overwhelmed by how much work it took to prove I was poor."

"America lives by the myth that if you work hard enough, you'll make it. For me, I felt like if I wasn't making it, I wasn't working hard enough," she said.

Maid showrunner, executive producer, and writer Molly Smith Metzler, was clearly moved by Land's experiences, as she's described her as a superhero. She's also spoken about remaining true to Land's memoir while having to make adaptations to the story for a streaming audience.

“One of the things I’m very proud of about the show is that I think it’s emotionally very true to the memoir… There’s characters and big storylines that aren’t in the memoir, but I think emotionally, the show is telling a similar story to the book in that we are both chasing the same ending and chasing the same message," Metzler told Decider.

“With Maid, I did a tonne of research. I read the book eight times. I highlighted the passages that had an emotional effect on me. And then you have to put all that aside and say, ‘How do I make this its own thing, its own entertainment? How do I make sure my cousin in Ohio has to watch this show?’ So it’s a really fun job to try to translate it.”

Nowadays, Land continues to write about poverty and motherhood, and advocate for women in need of greater support. She married in 2019 and lives with her husband and their blended family of four children and two dogs.

Maid is available to watch on Netflix now.

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