Stephanie Land

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Stephanie Land
Land posing in a field
Born1978 (age 44–45)
EducationUniversity of Montana (BA)
Years active2014–present
OrganizationCenter for Community Change
Notable workMaid
Tim Faust
(m. 2019)
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Stephanie Land (born September 1978) is an American writer and public speaker.[1][2][3] She is best known for writing Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive (2019), which was adapted to television miniseries Maid (2021) for Netflix.[4] Land has also written several articles about maid service work, abuse and poverty in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Land grew up between Washington and Anchorage, Alaska,[5] in a middle class household.[6] A car accident at age 16 led to her being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition which was later exacerbated by her financial struggles.[7]

In her late twenties, she lived in Port Townsend, Washington, where she had her first child and became a single mother who worked maid service jobs to support her family.[8][9] Although she did not grow up in poverty, she spent the next several years living below the poverty line and relied on several welfare programs to cover necessary expenses; this later inspired her writing on issues of poverty and public policy.[10][11] In January 2008, Land broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a homeless shelter with her then nine-month-old daughter.[2] Land and her eldest daughter occasionally lived in homeless shelters, transitional housing and a camper in a driveway, before securing an apartment in low-income housing. The first line of her debut book reads: "My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter."[12]

After six years of cleaning in Washington and Montana, she was eventually able to use student loans and Pell grants to move to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Montana in May 2014.[8] During her studies, she published her first public writing in the form of blog posts and local publications[13] followed by Internet-based publications such as HuffPost[7] and Vox.[11] Upon graduating from the University of Montana, Land ended her dependence on food stamps,[14] started working as a freelance writer, and became a writing fellow with the Center for Community Change.[15]


External video
video icon After Words with Stephanie Land, from C-Span: Stephanie Land discussed her path from working as a maid to earning a journalism degree and later writing about the working poor. She was interviewed by Rachel Schneider, co-author of The Financial Diaries.

Land's first book Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive was published by Hachette Books on January 22, 2019. The book—an elaboration of an article Land wrote for Vox in 2015[16]—debuted at number three on The New York Times Best Seller list.[11] Barack Obama placed the book on his "Summer Reading List" of 2019[17] and actress Reese Witherspoon said she "loved this story about one woman surviving impossible circumstances."[18]

The book has received critical acclaim. In USA Today, Sharon Peters praised the book's honesty, writing that it fills the "with much candid detail about the frustrations with the limitations of programs she relied on. It is a picture of the soul-robbing grind through poverty that millions live with every day."[6] 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."[14] Katy Read of The Star Tribune suggests, "The next time you hear someone say they think poor people are lazy, hand them a copy of Maid. Stephanie Land can tell them otherwise and, unlike most authors who write about poverty, speaks from personal—and recent—experience."[19] In The Washington Post, Jenner Rogers writes, "Maid isn’t about how hard work can save you but about how false that idea is. It’s one woman’s story of inching out of the dirt and how the middle class turns a blind eye to the poverty lurking just a few rungs below—and it’s one worth reading."[20] Kirkus Reviews concludes that Maid is "[a]n important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty."[21]

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive was adapted to a 10-episode limited series Maid (2021) for the streaming service Netflix and released on October 1, 2021.[12] The series starred Margaret Qualley, Andie MacDowell and Nick Robinson.[22] On October 24, 2021, Forbes reported that Maid has remained in the most viewed "Top 5 Shows" since its release in numerous countries.[23][24] According to Netflix, the show will likely reach 67 million households in its first four weeks, surpassing the record set by The Queen’s Gambit, which was watched by 62 million subscribers.[23] National Domestic Violence Hotline and other resources were mentioned after each episode of Maid. National Domestic Violence Hotline received more calls in the month after Maid premiere than any other month in its entire 25-year history.[25]

Her second book, Class, was announced in 2020 for release in 2022 by One Signal Publishers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.[26] The book will combine Land's personal experiences with investigative reporting about higher education and the cost of it in the United States.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Stephanie Land is married to Tim Faust and they live as a blended family with four children.[28][29] They both have two children from previous relationships.[30] She owns a home in Montana and has three dogs.[31]

Land has spoken openly about the stigma of receiving government assistance and the assumptions people had of her, when she was relying on food stamps. In a 2021 interview with The Washington Post, Land said:[32]

It’s really hard to absolutely know how hated you are for needing assistance. There were a lot of memes going around at the time about how people should be drug-tested for welfare, and a lot of my friends would post on Facebook and social media some type of hatred for people on food stamps. And I felt it. I felt like I was a leech on society, honestly. My goal was to one day be off of government assistance, be a contributing member of society. I really felt like the only time I had any value as a human being was when I was actively working.


Stephanie Land television work
Year Title Role Notes
2019 After Words[33] Herself Guest; Episode dated January 22, 2019
2019 Today Guest; Episode dated 22 January 2019
2019 Good Morning Washington[34] Guest; Episode dated January 28, 2019
2019 Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien[35] Guest; Episode dated February 2, 2019
2019 CNN Newsroom[36] Guest; Episode dated February 17, 2019
2021 Maid[37][38] Executive producer and writer The series was inspired by Land's book Maid: Hard Work,

Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive (2019)

Podcasts with Stephanie Land
Year Title Role Notes
2019 All of It with Alison Stewart[39] Guest Episode dated January 23, 2019
2019 New York Times Podcast Episode dated February, 8, 2019
2019 Mountain Money[40] Episode dated February 25, 2019
2019 Off-Kilter Podcast[41] Episode dated April 4, 2019
2022 Twitterverse[42] Episode Six: Stephanie Land



  • Land, Stephanie. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive (2019). Hachette Books. ISBN 0316505110
  • Land, Stephanie. Class (2022). One Signal.

Authored articles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cooke, Emily (January 31, 2019). "The Brutal Economy of Cleaning Other People's Messes, for $9 an Hour". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "About – Stephanie Land". Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Babb, Christina Hughes (February 14, 2022). "'Maid' author Stephanie Land to speak at Salvation Army fundraiser". Lake Highlands. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  4. ^ LeGardye, Quinci (October 15, 2021). "What Is Stephanie Land Doing Now?". Marie Claire Magazine. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  5. ^ Cohen, Stefanie (January 12, 2019). "Maid's Tell-All Reveals Dirty Secrets of America's Middle Class". The New York Post. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Peters, Sharon (January 22, 2019). "Five Takeaways from Stephanie Land's Memoir, Maid". USA Today. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Dunne, Susan (January 18, 2019). "Meet Stephanie Land, Author of Maid, a Mother's Memoir on the Reality of Poverty". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Gross, Terry (January 29, 2019). "In Maid, a Single Mother Finds 'No Way' to Make It on Minimum Wage". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved February 16, 2019., audio transcript available at
  9. ^ Land, Stephanie (November 15, 2018). "The day my husband strangled me". The Guardian. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Hughes, Becky (February 15, 2019). "Maid Author Stephanie Land on Her Years in Housekeeping: 'Each Toilet Takes a Little Bit Out of You'". Parade. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Prior, Ryan (February 16, 2019). "She Used to Scrub Toilets for $9 an Hour. Now Her Book About It Is a Best-Seller". CNN. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Weiss, Keely (October 1, 2021). "How Netflix's 'Maid' Differs from Stephanie Land's Book". ELLE. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Fetters, Ashley (January 28, 2019). "The Crushing Logistics of Raising a Family Paycheck to Paycheck". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Cooke, Emily (January 31, 2019). "The Brutal Economy of Cleaning Other People's Messes, for $9 an Hour". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Stephanie Land". Center for Community Change. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  16. ^ Gaillot, Ann-Derrick (January 31, 2019). "Maid Offers a Striking Portrait of Single-Working-Motherhood". The Nation. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "Barack Obama Shares His 2019 Summer Reading List". Time. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  18. ^ Land, Stephanie (May 8, 2018). Maid. ISBN 978-0-316-50511-6.
  19. ^ Read, Katy (February 4, 2019). "Review: Maid, by Stephanie Land". The Star Tribune. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  20. ^ Rogers, Jenny (February 1, 2019). "From Middle Class to Homeless: A Mother's Unapologetic Memoir". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  21. ^ "MAID by Stephanie Land". Kirkus Reviews. October 15, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  22. ^ September 14, Dan Heching; Pm, 2021 09:45. "Margaret Qualley Stars Opposite Her Real-Life Mother Andie MacDowell in Trailer for Netflix's Maid". Retrieved December 2, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ a b Scott, Sheena. "'Maid', Becoming Netflix's Biggest Limited-Series, Is A Must-See". Forbes. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "This Drama About A Single Mom Is A Top Show On Netflix". HuffPost. October 11, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  25. ^ Khosla, Proma (August 8, 2022). "How 'Maid' Set a Record That Didn't Have Anything to Do with Netflix Numbers". IndieWire. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  26. ^ "Author of Best-Selling Maid Takes on College in Class". ABC Go. October 28, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  27. ^ "Author of best-selling 'Maid' takes on college in 'Class'". AP NEWS. April 20, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  28. ^ @stepville (August 20, 2019). "Party of six. Blended families FTW. Photo by Erika Peterman" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Burton, Jamie (October 11, 2021). "Who Is Stephanie Land and Where Is the 'Maid' Author Now?". Newsweek. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  30. ^ Land, Stephanie (September 24, 2019). "I Used to Clean Houses. Then I Hired a Maid". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  31. ^ Wappler, Margaret (January 19, 2022). "She has a bestseller and hit Netflix series. But Stephanie Land's 'Maid' isn't just about being a 'palatable poor person'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  32. ^ "'Maid' author Stephanie Land on what it feels like to be shamed for being poor". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  33. ^ "After Words with Stephanie Land |". Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  34. ^ SIDE, THE MOTHER (January 28, 2019). "New book explores single mom's rise from the grips of poverty". WJLA. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  35. ^ "Matter of Fact With Soledad O'Brien S3 E22 : Watch Full Episode Online". DIRECTV. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  36. ^ Ex-maid turns story of struggle into best-selling book | CNN Business, retrieved November 18, 2022
  37. ^ Freeman, Betsie. "Author of 'Maid,' who clawed way out of poverty, has message for Omahans". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  38. ^ "Former Washington resident Stephanie Land's bestselling memoir inspires Netflix series 'Maid'". The Seattle Times. September 27, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  39. ^ "'Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, & a Mother's Will to Survive,' 'Living Here with Kate' | All Of It". WNYC. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  40. ^ "Mountain Money - February 25, 2019 Stephanie Land". KPCW | Listen Like a Local. February 25, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  41. ^ "Maid". Medium. June 10, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  42. ^ "Stephanie Land on Putting the Pieces of Your Life Together and Finding Your Way". Literary Hub. November 15, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.

External links[edit]