Maid on Netflix: That’s the Real Story Behind the Show

Homeless mother
Netflix Hit “Maid”: The Real Story Behind It Is Even Harder

Scene from “Maid”: Alex (Margaret Qualley) wants to give her daughter Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet) a better life

© Netflix

The series “Maid” is currently number 2 on the Netflix charts in Germany. The story about a homeless mother is based on a true story – and it was actually much harder.

She fights for a better life for herself and her little daughter – and still ends up on the street again and again: The impressive Netflix drama “Maid” shows how difficult it is to free yourself from poverty and toxic relationships, and how almost impossible it is to claim often shaped by welfare. Just one example: Alex (played by Margaret Qualley) needs a job to support herself and her child on her own. But in order to be able to go to work, she needs a daycare place – which, in turn, is only available if she has a job. A classic vicious circle. The story is based on the book of the same name by the author Stephanie Land. It’s her autobiography.

Land fled a toxic relationship with her daughter in 2008 and later wrote down her experience as a single cleaning lady. And it was even harder than in the series, Netflix changed some things from the book. Instead of going to the women’s shelter, Land first ended up with her daughter in a homeless shelter, instead of just one year, it took two years as a cleaning lady before Stephanie Land had enough strength and resources to apply for a college scholarship. Often times, instead of just once, the country passed out from hunger. And instead of just one toxic relationship, there was another one that also involved physical violence. “No matter how much I worked, it was never enough. I was never enough,” writes Land on her website.

The author shows the real scenes from “Maid” on Instagram

“Maid” is in places almost deceptively light, for example when we see as a playful calculation in the picture how the little money in Alex ‘pocket is simply not enough for every purchase. Or when Alex looks for tinder dates on her cell phone and the guys appear life-size in her living room. But there were always nice moments in real life too. The toy ponies that were given as gifts for the daughter really existed, for example. Land shows on Instagram just always real scenes from her past that also appear in the series.


How intense “Maid” is becomes clear especially at the end: Almost unnoticed, Alex slowly moved back in with her ex-partner, who controls and abuses her. And suddenly the sentence from the first episode comes to mind: “Most women need seven attempts to really leave,” the counselor in the women’s shelter had told her. That there is a happy ending for Alex in the end is the exception, not the rule.

Stephanie Land also got her happy ending – but the nightmare never ends completely. She has received death threats for writing about getting her child through with meal vouchers, she says. And many comments like: she should give up her children – she now has two – for adoption, how can you be poor and get pregnant? Even when her book was a huge success, she still lay awake at night and asked herself: “When will something bad happen again?” In doing so, she knows that she is still privileged as a white, healthy woman.

It took her a long time to no longer be in constant fear of poverty and hunger. Today Stephanie Land lives happily married with her two children, a stepchild and three dogs in a house with a garden. At readings, she was sometimes asked why others didn’t break out of poverty like her. As if it was just a decision. That this is not the case, but that there is a cynical, failing system behind it: that becomes clear when you watch “Maid”.

Sources: “Time”, Website Stephanie Land


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