Is ‘Maid’ Based on a True Story? What You Need to Know About the Netflix Series

Maid, Netflix - Rylea Nevaeh Whittet and Margaret Qualley
Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix

Netflix’s newly-released limited series Maid has a certain realism that some dramas just don’t, and that’s due in part to its source material, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, the 2019 memoir by Stephanie Land.

Serving as an executive producer, Land’s story is credited as the inspiration behind the show in the credits, but if viewers hit that “skip” button to watch the next episode, they might miss that detail. Quite popular following its release, Land’s memoir made Barack Obama‘s Summer Reading List in 2019.


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“A single mother’s personal, unflinching look at America’s class divide, a description of the tightrope many families walk just to get by, and a reminder of the dignity of all work,” Obama described the tale Land shares with readers.

At 28, Land found her life turned upside down by an unplanned pregnancy, and it wasn’t long before she found herself living as a single mother trying to make ends meet by cleaning houses as a maid. The book serves to highlight the challenges of poverty and an unfair system, among other pressing topics.

Maid, Margaret Qualley as Alex


The show relays a version of her tale through characters who go by different names, such as Margaret Qualley‘s Alex, who is based on Land herself. Alex struggles to provide for her daughter Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet) and desires to escape the control of her abusive ex Sean (Nick Robinson).

With Alex’s mother Paula (Qualley’s real-life mom, Andie MacDowell) and her employer Regina (Anika Noni Rose), who later becomes Alex’s friend, along for the ride, Maid sucks viewers in with its compelling and heart-wrenching tale of survival, thanks to Land’s writing.

To find out more about Land’s memoir, visit the author’s site And relive Alex’s emotional journey by bingeing the series Maid on Netflix.

Maid, Streaming now, Netflix