Is Netflix’s Maid Based On A True Story?

Maid is a work of fiction, but the events is based on draw parallels to very real experiences...

Netflix's Maid

by Beth Ashley |

On October the 1st, the Original Limited Series Maid dropped onto everyone’s favourite streaming platform, Netflix. It’s the latest drama to take social media by storm, with glowing reviews filling up Twitter. Lauded for it’s brilliant representation of single motherhood and the trials that come along with it, Maid explores what it’s like to live on the poverty line and takes a chillingly close look at emotional abuse - an often overlooked area of domestic violence.

Is Maid based on a true story?

The story behind Maid feels all the more raw when you realise it's based on a true story, detailed in Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. Emily Cooke of The New York Times summed up her review by focusing on the clarity of Land's suffering in the work: 'Land survived the hardship of her years as a maid, her body exhausted and her brain filled with bleak arithmetic, to offer her testimony. It’s worth listening to.'

There are many parallels between the book and it’s on-screen adaptation. Stephanie Land, who Alex’s character is based on, spent several years living below the poverty line in her late twenties as a single mother.

But there are some big differences between Stephanie’s story, and the plot was fictionalised for Netflix. Stephanie wasn’t poor all her life like Alex. She had actually grown up in a middle-class family but just like Alex, she struggled financially - joining several welfare programmes to stay afloat - after having her first child against her boyfriend’s wishes. In both the series and the real story, Stephanie and Alex’s boyfriends had wanted them to terminate the pregnancies.

Stephanie Lane’s initial mental health struggles came from being in a car accident at 16, and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Similar to what Alex experiences in the TV series, Stephanie Land's relationship with the father of her daughter had become emotionally abusive. She said that he gradually built up to being violent. In the book, Stephanie refers to her abuser by name, but it has been changed to ‘Sean’ for the series.

What is the plot of Maid?

Much like the book Maid is based on, the Netflix original series follows the lead, single mother Alex, as she grapples with a low income after fleeing with her young daughter from an abusive relationship. She takes on a low-paying job cleaning as a maid to help her and her young daughter, Maddy, land on their feet. Eventually, she comes to terms with the abuse she has endured - understanding it more and fearing it less - and even overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her and her daughter, Maddy.

Throughout the show, she faces obstacles to reaching safety. From an unreliable family to a support system made entirely from friends of her abuser.

Maid gives an inside look at the struggles and challenges women face when leaving an abusive situation. The first episode is a series of false starts on her journey to a safe haven.

Will there be a Maid season two?

With a powerful story, amazing representation of single motherhood and the reality of domestic violence, fans of the show are desperate to know if there will be a season two of Maid. In fact, 'Maid season 2' is currently a breakout search term on Google.

So far, Netflix has not confirmed whether or not they will commission season two, but given that season one has only just premiered on Netflix that's no surprise.

The concern for fans is, Maid was marketed from the beginning as a limited series - so it seems unlikely that there will be a season two (and the series we’ve all enjoyed will probably only have a home on Netflix for a restricted amount of time). Even Queen's Gambit didn’t get a second series - despite demands for it, and several awards brought in by the gripping series.

Stay tuned though - you never know when Netflix might decide to surprise us!

Who is on the Maid cast?

The incredible Netflix series stars Margaret Qualley in the lead role as Alex. Andie MacDowell, Qualley’s mother in real life, plays her mother on-screen too - a sweet touch! The rest of the cast includes Love, Simon’s Nick Robinson, Everything, Everything star Anika Noni Rose, and Billy Burke - best known for his role in Twilight.

Liked this? Check out Netflix's best period dramas...


Netflix's Best Period Dramas - Grazia

Period dramas Netflix
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Everyone's favourite actor, Timothée Chalamet, plays the wayward Prince Hal who must turn from carouser to warrior king as he faces hostilities from both inside and outside his castle walls in the battle for England.

Period dramas Netflix
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Is there a hunky, outdoorsy, rugged-looking role on this earth yet that Richard Madden hasn't absolutely owned? In this BBC adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's racy novel (so racy in fact that it was trialled for obscenity in the UK and banned in America when it was originally published), Madden plays everyone's favourite sexy gardener, Oliver Mellors to Holliday Grainger's Lady Chatterley. Safe to say you should prepare yourself for some seriously non-PG scenes...

Period dramas Netflix
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The 2005 take on Jane Austen's best-loved novel, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, is all well and good, but it's a truth universally acknowledged that this brilliant six-part BBC adaptation will always be the definitive on-screen version. Still best known for the scene in which a soggy Mr. Darcy emerges from a lake - which you definitely won't find in the original text - it's the series that made Colin Firth a national treasure (and gained him a mention in Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and a role in the eventual films). Lake-dipping aside, screenwriter Andrew Davies lets the novel's sparkling dialogue speak for itself, making this a total joy for dedicated Austenites and for more recent initiates.

Period dramas Netflix
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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years (in which case, we salute you) you'll doubtless be familiar with one particular image of potential Bond Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, which may or may not involve scything. From the melodramatic twists and turns of the plot to the gratuitous shots of Turner brooding against the backdrop of the Cornish coast, Poldark is the ultimate period drama guilty pleasure (your mum probably agrees...)

Period dramas Netflix
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Throw together an attractive widow, an assumed libertine (with a Marquis title, nonetheless) and put them in 18th century France and what do you get? Our new Netflix originals obsession, of course! But Lady J doesn't follow the traditional trajectory of period drama romance - instead our protagonist finds herself scorned by her lover and goes about seeking her revenge with the help of two prostitutes. In case you hadn't already worked it out: this is your ultimate binge watch for a girls night in...

Period dramas Netflix
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Netflix's deep-dive into the personal conflicts, political intrigues and public controversies of Queen Elizabeth II's reign is the streaming service's most expensive original drama to date. Luckily, every penny of The Crown's rumoured £100 million budget appears to have paid off. Claire Foy in the first 2 seasons followed by Olivia Colman in the 3rd and 4th series gives a brilliant, sympathetic performance as Elizabeth, nailing the plummy vowels and poise of the monarch without descending into caricature - but it's Vanessa Kirby's Princess Margaret (and her controversial romance with a divorcé) that will have you gripped.

Period dramas Netflix
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Chris Pine plays 14th-century Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, who claims the crown and leads a fierce uprising to win back the country's independence from English rule.

Period dramas Netflix
8 of 15

In this Academy Award-winning film telling the true story of Solomon Northup, a freeborn black man is kidnapped in New York and sold into slavery in the South.

Period dramas Netflix
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Based on the award-winning novel by Margaret Atwood, which is based on a true story, this drama tells the story of a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Canada who is accused and convicted of the murder of her employer and his housekeeper. She is sentenced to life in prison, where a psychiatrist must decide if she can be pardoned for reasons of insanity.

Period dramas Netflix
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Based on Anne of Green Gables, follow the drama of a plucky orphan whose passions run deep in her unlikely home with a spinster and her soft-spoken bachelor brother.

Period dramas Netflix
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More Austen. More Keira. The actress was nominated for an Oscar for her wonderful performance as the iconic Elizabeth. She's rarely been better.

Period dramas Netflix
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CREDIT: Netflix

63 million people have already watched the streaming giant's sumptuous 8-parter. Are you one of them? If not, get on it.

Period dramas Netflix
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This is not a subtle film, but it's a lot of fun. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson play two sisters pursued by Henry VIII. We all know how this one ends...

Netflix Period Dramas
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CREDIT: Mary Queen Of Scots

Saoirse Ronan played the ill-fated nemesis to Margot Robbie's Elizabeth I in this stirring historical interpretation from Josie Rourke. The costumes are particularly sumptuous.

Netflix Period drama
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CREDIT: Mary Queen Of Scots

Daisy Ridley played the tragic heroine in this reimagining of the Shakespeare play where Hamlet's girlfriend draws the focus. Clive Owen and Naomi Watts co-star.

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