At the start of this month, you might have seen a new Netflix series pop up called Maid.
If you haven’t already jumped in, it is about a young, single mother’s survival and resilience as she navigates poverty, her abusive ex, and her job as a domestic worker for some of the world’s wealthiest folks in Washington.
The series is a slightly more fictionalised take on Stephanie Land’s New York Times Best-selling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will To Survive.
That’s Land up top with her book behind her. We’ll put the Netflix trailer down below for you to check out later.
The Telegraph chronicles some of the more interesting and tragic aspects of Land’s life as a domestic worker for the super-rich, and how she ended up learning all about the interior lives of her clients.
The alarming thing about the book, the series, and Land’s telling of it all is that all domestic workers probably know more about their clients than even their families know.
That’s no problem I suppose unless there are intimate secrets to hide, big or small.
Land, who always dreamed of being a writer, imagined elaborate narratives around each of her clients so as to break up the monotony of the job:
“It was a way to entertain myself in a very lonely, boring job,” Land, 43, tells me, speaking over the phone from her home in Montana.
“Of course you start to wonder about the people who live there, I think that’s human nature. You start to know your clients in a way their families probably don’t.”
So she gave each of her clients their own secret nicknames: the ‘Sad House’, the ‘Farm House’, the ‘Chef’s House’, the ‘Clown House’.
But it was the ‘Cigarette Lady’, a middle-aged housewife who lived next to a golf course with her construction magnate husband, who fascinated Land the most.
She was the kind of woman who thrived at making perfection her character, with her hair and make-up always “impeccable” and “flawless”, as well as her style and home sleek, modern and usually spotless.
But beneath the uniform of perfection was a little secret:
Land began to spot traces of cigarette ash around the house, and once found an ashtray behind the kitchen sink. It had been scrubbed clean with some vigour.
Curiously, Land never saw any cigarettes – until one day, when she was exiting the house through the garage and noticed a freezer. She opened it.
Hidden away at the back was a stack of Virginia Slims, an upmarket cigarette brand. Land allowed herself a smile of satisfaction.
“I could picture her, with her chin resting in her hand, stamping out a cigarette… then getting up, tossing her hair a little, and emptying out the ashtray in the garage before carefully wiping it clean,” Land recalls in her memoir.
“It wasn’t about the smoking. It was the secrecy that fascinated me, the amount of energy she put into appearing perfect and clean.”
Then, there was also the ‘Porn House’ with photographs of a married couple smiling side by side in matching jumpers as you walk in.
But in each of their separate rooms, because the couple slept separately, was their own collections of porn (for the husband) and low-budget romance novels (for the wife):
“I imagined them sleeping in different rooms… each fantasising about a different partner, and possibly a different life.”
In the ‘Sad House’, a 70-year-old man was living with the ashes of his wife and son.
He had done everything right, having had a good job, a gorgeous house, and marrying a woman he loved, but was still dying alone despite it all.
In between, there were cruel clients and kind clients, all with their own quips and comforts that kept Land going despite the gruelling work and dismal pay.
Here’s the trailer for Maid, as promised:
Land hopes that, with the Netflix series and her book, she can bring awareness to this job that often flies way under the radar.
[imagesource: Pix4Free / Creative Commons Licence] Does anyone else see that photo peop...
[imagesource: Instagram / @ivarisstic] The average South African rugby fan wouldn't hav...
[imagesource: KnowYourMeme] TikTok is precisely the place where a niche in-joke rapidly...
[imagesource: Diego Reyes / AFP / Getty Images] People, rejoice - they are finally here...
[imagesource: The Car Guide] Supercars and branded sneakers are a part of the same fami...