The hit Netflix series ‘Maid’ is actually based on the the true story of this single mom

The Netflix show “Maid” has attracted many viewers since its release in October 2021, but many people don’t realize that it draws inspiration from real-life events.

The ten-part series starring Margaret Qualley is adapted from Stephanie Land’s bestselling book, “The Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” which details her struggles as a single mother living below the poverty line with an abusive partner.


The book also highlights the dire reality of individuals living on low-paying service, a demographic group that Earth refers to as “invisible.”

Her book was released in 2019, and it has attracted the attention of dignitaries such as President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“I wanted the book to be more about domestic violence, about the kind of estrangement from the family and then the transition to college,” Land told TODAY.

Stephanie Land looking at hard copies of her book "The maid: hard work, low pay, and a mother's will to survive"

The biography tells that Land in her twenties and thirties was a financially stressed single mother who suffered from domestic violence. For six years, Land worked as a maid to wealthy families to create a better life for her daughter.

She did odd jobs of putting food on the table and providing a structure for her child, who uses his middle name ‘Story’ and uses their own/their pronouns.

When she couldn’t stand the emotional and physical abuse anymore, she took her daughter and moved to a homeless shelter with only $100 in her pocket. But no matter how strong she tried to be for her child, Land noted in her diary that she sometimes pretended to have a different life.

Stephanie Land and her daughter's story

At one time, the land depended on seven forms of government assistance to survive.

“If I focus on the image of the family I wanted to be, I can pretend that the bad parts were not real; such a life was a temporary state of being, not a new existence,”

Fast forward to 2008, Land moved from Washington to Montana with Storey to attend college. She enrolled in a creative writing program to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer.

“I knew I would only be miserable if I hadn’t at least tried to be a writer, because I’ve known I’ve been a writer since I was, you know, ten years old,” she said.

Stephanie Land and her daughter's story

Land earned her degree in 2014, and became a fellow at the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. in 2016, writing for several websites, talking about her experiences as a poor single mother.

Her first article went viral, and Land received $500 for the piece. Soon, someone called her a book deal, which allowed her to quit her other jobs.

Land finally fulfilled her dreams of becoming a writer, and when her memoir debuted, it ranked third on the New York Times non-fiction chart. When “Maid” premiered on Netflix in October 2021, it put her book back on the list, where it stayed for nine weeks.

During its first four weeks, the series garnered more than 67 million viewers. Despite the show’s success, Land said it wasn’t easy going through the most difficult moments of her life.

Stephanie Land holding a poster "maid"

“It was really difficult, I think, because they put a lot of things into perspective. It was very similar to what I went through,” she said.

Watching the show with her daughter was especially difficult.

She explained, “One time, they turned to me and said, ‘Was it like that with my dad? “And I had to say, ‘Yeah, that’s very close to what it was.'”

Today, Land uses its platform to speak on behalf of the “invisible people who are struggling to survive”.

Stephanie Land with her husband and children

Since the release of her book, she has been traveling across the country to share her struggles and successes. Land has also published articles focusing on single parenting, social justice, domestic violence, and more. The prolific author has also co-founded the Freelance Writing Course to help aspiring writers.

Earth has definitely come a long way. No longer in constant survival mode, she lives happily with her blended family. She now has another daughter named Caroline, a husband and two children.

You can follow Stephanie Land on Instagram, Twitterand its website.

If you or someone you know is being abused in a relationship in any way, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for free, confidential, 24/7 support. Text START to 88788, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online at

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